How to Make a Water Wheel Model for a School Project

By Jennifer Holik
Water wheel projects teach children about history.

Water wheels have come in three varieties, the horizontal wheel and two versions of a vertical wheel. People typically used water wheels to drive millstones to grind corn and other grains into flour. Creating water wheel projects for school teaches children about the history of water wheels and the people who used them. It also teaches students how the water wheel worked to create electricity to power machines and buildings.

Print out a water wheel pattern from your computer (see Resources). Cut the pieces out on the solid lines. Color the pieces with crayons. Color only the back of the beam pieces rather than the side on which the pattern is drawn.

Fold the frame and beam pieces along the dotted lines on the cut-out pieces. Make holes through the black dots using a nail, pin, compass point or other sharp tipped object. On the four beam ends, overlap flaps A and B. Secure the beams with tape. This should create two rectangular half-boxes when complete.

Lay the folded piece down in a "U" shape. Turn the beam so side C is facing down. Side D of that beam should be facing the inside. Side D has the hole in it. Line the beam up with the frame's outside edges on the underside of the framed "U" shape. Attach the beam to the frame at both ends. Repeat this process for the other beam.

Turn the frame with attached beams over and insert the toothpick through the beams to make an axle. Add the wheel into the wheel cut of the frame and poke the toothpick through the wheel and second beam.

About the Author

Jennifer Holik, a professional genealogist, has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes for Chicago-area genealogy society publications. Holik has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.