Energy world

Notes on Energy transformations

Notes on Energy transformations

 Build your own power station


Timing: One or more lessons


  • Introduce the range of power stations
  • Introduce or support work on energy transformations and electricity generation
  • Introduce or support work on efficiency


  • Self-assessment forms
  • Student performance during activity


Individually or in small groups – The students can run through the activity on their own or in small groups if there are enough computers.

As a class – You can use this activity with an interactive whiteboard.

You can lead the group through the construction of several different power stations. This approach can be useful to help students understand that the various components used in a power station are there to effect certain energy transformations.

The activity can also show effectively how energy is lost along the way. It will come as a surprise to most students that our methods of generating electricity are only in the region of 30–40% efficient. The energy transformation approach used in this activity can show where the remaining 60–70% of the energy goes.

This activity can then lead into a larger project on power generation, if time allows.

Go to Build your own power station

 Build a wind turbine


Timing: One lesson


  • Investigate how different factors (including shape, number and the size of the rotors) affect power output


  • Written report for grading


Individually or in small groups - A wind turbine can be built very simply from a small electric motor and a small piece of pre-drilled wooden dowel or pieces of cork.

Students can also look at how power output varies with wind speed as controlled by a variable speed desk fan. The experiment can be extended by asking students to design and build a wind turbine suitable for outdoor use. The main modification necessary here will be the addition of a sail to keep the turbine directed into the wind and a pivot point to allow movement of the turbine.

Download Activity card 7: Energy transformations: Build a wind turbine