Water Transport System

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Skills & Connections
– Simple machines (wheels, pulleys, axels
– Volume and density
– Watering needs of plants
– Units of measurement (length)
– Engineering design process
4th & 5th grade

Community problem:

Students in an urban school were concerned that certain garden beds in their schoolyard have no easy access to water.

Student design goals:

Students created a water transportation system to move water across the school playground to the garden beds. This project required that the resulting system saved time and effort, while ensuring successful plant growth and student safety, all within a fixed budget and deadline.


The students worked in small groups. Two of the groups designed and built a working prototype of a water transport system that included a double pulley mechanism. The third group designed and built a miniature mechanical model of a conveyer belt used to transport buckets of water.

Depending on which route was taken, materials used by the students included plastic pulleys, nylon rope and buckets for the former design, and rubber sheets, strings, straw-coffee stirrers, paper tubes, tapes and plastic sheets for the latter.