We have installed one of our 4x1 waterwheels at Batheaston Primary School where it is proving to be an enormous success. Award wining Headmistress (Jacquie) requested a fully visible water circuit so that pupils could see the entire water and machine cycle.
We were unable to use the nearby brook so this installation recycles its own water and its replenished as needed by very willing volunteeers and natural rainfall.
We added a generator for making a small amount of electrical power and extended the shaft for mechanical 'feel' and other demonstrations. For interaction we added a power indicating 'litestick' column, a pump flow controller and a pupil hand pump! .
For the age group (5 - 11) the wheel is pupil size and at their viewing level. All the gearing and generator components are on full and safe display providing an opportunity for close up scrutiny .. and we've put some recycled components in for staff and pupils to identify.
One submerged pump is powered from our Waterwheel Controller, the batteries for this are kept charged from a solar panel and Wind turbine generator.
The second hand pump is for manually pumping water into the clear feeding flume, you can watch as the water falls onto the wheel, exhausts at the bottom and returns to the sump.. its both fun and informative, the staff also like to have an occasional go!.
The project is officially 'cool' as much for the water splash on a hot summers day as the concept, pumping is now more controlled.
Crystal clear, tough safety guarding keeps small hands safe and helps keep most of the water in, secondary guards cover the chain drives and wheel spokes stopping slightly larger hands and materials from jamming the works etc.
So how about getting your school thoroughly saturated in the concept of basic hydropower, there is simply no other way to get your pupils as close to a working wheel (its not a toy) that they can safely control. We do the same concept with a real turbine if you prefer.
A teacher support pack is available and we are developing further data presentation products. Demos of real practical turbines are possible as are smaller turbine examples and 'how it works' models of just about anything can be made.