Geothermal Power Plant Model

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In this activity, learners make a model of a power plant that uses steam. Learners use simple materials like foil, a tin can, and a pot of water to model a geothermal power plant. Learners use a pinwheel to observe the power produced by the steam. SAFETY NOTE: Adult assistance required.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Child's pinwheel
  • Aluminum foil
  • Empty soup can or similar sized tin can with one end cut off
  • A wooden ruler
  • Small cooking pot
  • Hot plate
  • Hammer
  • 10p nail
  • Tape or rubber bands
  • Mitten type of pot holder


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
      • Thermodynamics and Entropy
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, California Energy Commission, 2006