We decided to investigate water towers because there is a water tower located in Knockanillaun, close to our school. We knew very little about the tower and we had lots of questions that we needed to find answers to such as
What is the purpose of the water tower near our school?
What do all water towers have in common?
Why is the water tower elevated?
What materials are used to build a water tower?
How does water get into and out of a water tower?
What other objects function in a way similar to a water tower? (e.g., water cooler, reservoir, )
Why is important to have water stored this way for a community?
When was the tower built and why was it built in that location?
How did we answer some of these questions?
An important skill for engineers who design structures like water towers is the ability to visualize what a product might look like and how it will perform under certain conditions. We designed & built structures out of paper to hold one full 500 mL water bottle for four seconds. We used our prior knowledge about strong shapes such as cylinders when designing how paper can be used to support a weight and we ensured that Fair Testing took place. We compared the predicted height of our paper designs to the actual height of the constructed structures and displayed this information on a bar chart.
Next we built water towers out of everyday recyclable materials that could "supply" and "shut off" water as needed.
We drew diagrams to show how water in the tower relies on gravity and hydrostatic pressure to provide adequate water pressure. We measured how the flow of water from the tower increases as we increased the height of the tower.
We interviewed our older relatives and found out about the building of the tower in 1974. We found where our raw water supply comes from and where our water gets treated before it is piped to our homes.