Renewable Energy Projects for Kids

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Help students learn more about renewable energy with these fun projects. You can read this article to find directions and useful resources for your classroom.

Water Power

This project gives students a chance to broaden their understanding of hydropower.


  • 2-liter bottle
  • 2 corks
  • BBQ skewers (wooden is best)
  • Thread
  • Eraser
  • Duct tape
  • Funnel
  • Paperclips


  • Ruler, marker, scissors and a craft knife

What to Do:

Have students begin by measuring and cutting off the bottom 6 cm of the bottle. They should set this section aside. Now they need to cut off another 8 cm section of the bottle. Your students should end up with three bottle pieces: the bottom, a cylinder from the middle and the top.

Students then need to take the middle section and cut through the cylinder. They need to create four strips that are 2 cm wide (right now they should have four 2 cm x 8 cm strips of plastic). Now have them cut these strips in half, giving them eight 2 cm x 4 cm pieces.

Now it's time for a cork. Have students careful draw and cut eight lines down the length of one of their corks. They should carefully slide their eight pieces of plastic into these cuts. Make sure all of the pieces of plastic curve the same way!

Have students take two paperclips and bend them up into an S shape. They should take the small end of the paper clip and twist it to form a loop. Tape these paperclips to opposite sides of the outside of the funnel. Students thread the skewer through the loop of one paperclip and into one end of the cork. Take a second skewer and thread it through the opposite paperclip before sticking it in the other side of the cork. The first cork should now be balanced over the funnel.

Next, take one end of the skewers and attach the other cork to it by sticking the skewer into one end of the cork. Have students tightly knot the thread around the outside of the cork, attaching the other end of the thread to the eraser.

And now it's ready! Have students set the funnel over the bottom of the bottle they cut off earlier. They should place the entire device in a sink, take a deep breath and turn on the water slowly. Direct the faucet water down over the cork waterwheel and it will turn the skewers, rotating the outside cork and winding up the thread!

This experiment helps students understand how the power of water can be converted into energy. They can use heavier items in place of the eraser to see if they need more power to lift them.

Baking with the Sun

Use this project to help students learn more about solar power.

You'll Need:

  • A pizza box
  • Newspaper
  • Construction paper (black)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Aluminum foil


  • Scissors, tape, thermometer and a ruler

What to Do:

Have students carefully draw an 8 ½ in. by 11 in. square on the lid of their pizza box. They should cut out three of the sides and fold the new lid open. Have them tape a piece of foil to the inside of this flap.

Now for the inside of the box! Students should cover the bottom inside of the box with the construction paper. Then they need to roll the newspaper pages up (rolls should be about 1 ½ in. thick) and place these papers around the inside edges of the box. Have students tape a piece of plastic wrap to the bottom and top of the lid, so it covers the hole, but not the flap itself.

Now they need to set up their box facing the sun and decide what to put in it. They can warm up some food or even melt some chocolate! Whatever they decide, they should use the ruler to hold the flap open. Give the sun some time to do its work and the inside of the box will get up to 200 degrees! Have a thermometer ready so students can check out the heat energy provided by the sun.

Additional Resources

Help your students better understand water and solar energy through lessons in the Environmental Science chapter of's Science for Kids course. Lessons include video and texts lessons on ecosystems, natural resources, sustainability and more. Students can practice what they've learned through interactive lesson quizzes, or assess their understanding of the unit as a whole through a comprehensive, in-depth exam.

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