Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Tidal Power Model
Review the method for converting mechanical energy to electrical energy to generate AC electricity.
Ask: What mechanical sources can be used to power a generator? Write the answers on the board and briefly explain how each source turns a turbine. Introduce the idea of harnessing tidal action to produce electricity. As a class, brainstorm possible problems with this method. Explain that students will explore designs for capturing tidal energy to drive turbines.
Outline the Opportunity
Divide the class into groups of four
to six. Direct them to the topic Hydroelectricity:
The Power of Water on the CBC Digital Archives website and have them view the clips "Flowing water, flowing power",
"Harnessing the tides", "Electricity from the Niagara," "Tidal power slow to
catch on," and "Wringing power from Race Rocks."
Have each group create a diagram (or if students wish, a model or computer simulation) to show how water is typically used in a hydroelectric plant to create mechanical power to turn a turbine. Then have them brainstorm methods of using tidal motion to drive the turbine. When they are done, have them modify their diagrams and models to show how tidal motion could be used in a hydroelectric plant. Students should also estimate the amount of power the plant will generate. All parts of the system should be clearly labeled.
Revisit and Reflect
Invite students to present their completed work to the class and to other classes in the school. Have them describe how their proposed plan works and why they think it is a good choice for producing power.
Students can estimate the cost of construction of their plant and discuss whether they think tidal power is a viable option for producing power. Discussions can include the problems and benefits associated with the technology.