Activity description and learning aims:
  • The pupils are supposed to determine the power of a solar powered water pump. They can measure the maximum height the water can be pumped and the amount of water per time interval.
  • knowledge: energy conversion; mechanical work and power
    inquiry: observation; description; creating and proving a hypothesis; systematizing; planning, conducting and evaluating design task; using models; comparison
    communication: online research; literature research; lab notes; schemes; manuals; group discussion; tables; diagrams; formula
    appraisal: evaluation of experiment; controversy about measurement results
  • Solar cell and garden pump (e.g. solar fountain system; see unit description), bucket, water, ruler, clock, beaker or measuring cylinder
Suggestions for use:
  • Introduction: „Imagine you want to know the power of the solar cell but you only have a garden pump!”
  • The pupils should come up with ideas to measure the power output and create convenient tests for them. They may approach the problem deductively by deriving a formula or inductively by testing. They should compare the results with the product specifications and present them easy to understand.
  • A connection to industry could be an online research for similar products with different parameters.
Recommended questions:
  • How can power and work be described / defined?
  • Which parameters influence the power of a solar cell?
  • How good are your results?