• Inquiry and Science Process
• Energy and Energy Transfer
• Forces and Motion
• Earth Science
• Engineering, Art, and Design
• Using Basic Tools
• Collecting and Interpreting Data
At the end of the lesson, students will:
• Know the fundamental aspects of a solar panel and
understand how placement and orientation affect its
• Be able to use the scientific method to isolate and
adjust variables in a solar powered fountain
• Understand power measurement and energy
concepts, using a small water pump
• Be able to use basic engineering, art and design skills
to create a one-of-a-kind solar fountain
Step 1: Organize Materials
You will need:
• Lamp (if you do not have good sunlight)
• High wattage incandescent bulb (100 watts or
• Compact fluorescent bulb (optional)
You will need to supply the following materials:
• LED bulb (optional)
• Color acetate sheets (optional)
• Alternative fountain building material such as
plastic bottles, large basins for water, more
plasticine, straws, etc.
Step 2: Affix the Pump
Attach the pump to the middle of the tray using small pieces of plasticine.
Step 3: Make a Tube Adapter
Cut 1inch off the medium tubing and attach it to the nozzle on the pump. The fit should be snug.
Step 4: Attach Pump to Solar Panel
Red wires to red, black to black.
Step 5: Water Pump and Solar Panel Test
Turn the light on, and adjust the distance of the solar panel until the pump pushes water out of the tube. Experiment using different tubing to see how the diameter affects the fountain.
Note: If the pump doesn't immediately work, try using a stronger light source and double check that the wires are connected correctly. If necessary, connect the pump to a 9V battery to give it a jumpstart, by connecting the red wire of the pump to the positive lead of the battery and black to the negative (sometimes older pumps just get stuck!). If all else fails, try a new pump!
What are the variables? For the solar panel? The water pump?