bondrkmz
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:31 pm
Occupation: student grade 5

Geothermal Energy

Postby bondrkmz » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:29 pm

Hello, I am trying to help my son with his science project. He has worked very hard on his project that he choose from your site. He has done hourssss of research on geothermal energy plants. I dont know how to help him. He choose The Heat beneath our feet.? Any way he is trying to conduct the experiment as per your procedures and we are unable to get the pinwheel(s) to spin with or without the can and the ruler. We went to the store to buy different size pinwheels to see if we could get any to work, we are unable to. ANY HelP???!!! project needs to be completed by 2/11/13 this will be his 4th science experiment he is in 5th grade.

HeatherL
Former Expert
Posts: 895
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:59 pm
Occupation: Professor

Re: Geothermal Energy

Postby HeatherL » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:51 pm

Hello,

Welcome to Science Buddies! Your son has picked a very interesting project: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p023.shtml

I'm sorry he is having difficulty with the procedure. It is hard for me to predict what is happening without seeing it, but here are some thoughts I have.
1) Ensure that the water is boiling vigorously, so you can see the steam rising. It is the heat from the steam that will make the pinwheel move.
2) Move the pinwheel closer and closer to the steam until it starts to move. The pinwheel should be facing the steam "head-on," and may move very slowly. You can try testing each pinwheel first by blowing on it with your breath to ensure that it will turn.
3) Make sure the ruler is not in the way of the pinwheel turning.

Please post again (in this same thread) if none of these ideas solves your problem. Can you describe in your own words what is happening and what you expect?

Heather

bondrkmz
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:31 pm
Occupation: student grade 5

Re: Geothermal Energy

Postby bondrkmz » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:34 pm

Thank you Heather for your reply to our question. :D
We already made changes that was suggested by a Geothermal scientist from a local University. We made our own turbine out of a pie tin and we used a metal cooking funnel to represtent the power plant. We had tried all those suggestions that you had for us on our own before we asked the experts on here. :) You are very kind to brainstorm for us though.

My son has learned alot about how science sometimes needs to have successes and failures to gather information. :o We will continue to use your site in the future. :D I hope our changes and your troubleshooting suggestions might help some others who may attempt this experiment. His testable question is "Does the number of holes in a Geothermal reservoir affect the energy produced?" But during all the failures he was thinking of changing to "Does the size of the hole in a Geothermal reservoir affect the energy produced?"

Sincerely,
Zak's Mom.

HeatherL
Former Expert
Posts: 895
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:59 pm
Occupation: Professor

Re: Geothermal Energy

Postby HeatherL » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:26 pm

Hi Zak's Mom,

I am so glad you were able to get the help of a local scientist! I figured you might have tried the things I suggested, but they were the best I could come up with from my end. :oops:

Learning that there are both successes and failures in science is an extremely valuable lesson! Students read about the successful experiments in textbooks and tend to get the impression that all experiments work the way they are supposed to work. It is often in the wake of a failed experiment that scientists come up with the best innovations...

I like the new directions in which your son is taking the project. Science Buddies values your feedback, and I encourage you to fill out the "I Did This Project" form (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... eityourown) so that the feedback can be incorporated into the information for this particular project.

Please let me know how it all works out in the end!

Best,
Heather


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