Te Reo Physics Resources

Multimedia Physics and Science Teaching Resources


Model Hydroelectric Generator | Hiko-ā-Awa


A model hydroelectric generator powered by a garden hose operates a small light.

Principles Illustrated
Conversion of energy, electromagnetic induction, hydroelectricity.



English version

Te Reo Māori Version


Model hydroelectric generators are available commercially.
It is a lot of fun and not terribly difficult to build a small model hydroelectric generator. But do not expect to get much electricity from it. Contact us for assistance if you would like to build one.

Operating Generator
The operating generator

Further Resources

We can provide example data that will allow students to calculate the efficiency of our generator (a few percent). Contact us for details. The efficiency of the Clyde Dam is rather better than our model. Within this folder, you will find an analysis of three hydro generators.
New Zealand gets a lot of its electricity from hydroelectric power plants, and recently the use of small scale hydroelectric generators in remote locations has gained in popularity. You will more information about hydroelectric generators within this folder. It is also possible to use “hydroelectric batteries” to store energy from other electric power plants. It is interesting for students to see that a lot of water must fall from a substantial height to power a household for a day. See the suggested lesson plans within this folder for more information. As discussed in the video, very small hydro electric generators are being used in remote locations where the grid is not available..

Generator Closeup
Close up of the generator

Other Information


As long as small hobby shop motors generating a small voltage are used safety concerns are minimal.
Individual teachers are responsible for safety in their own classes. Even familiar demonstrations should be practised and safety-checked by individual teachers before they are used in a classroom.

Compare to Model Wind Generators.


This teaching resource was developed by the Te Reo Māori Physics Project with support from