Students conduct experiments to determine the flow rate of faucets by timing how long it takes to fill gallon jugs. They do this for three different faucet flow levels (quarter blast, half blast, full blast), averaging three trials for each level. They convert their results from gallons per second (gps) to cubic feet per second (cfs).
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
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- Colorado: Math
- 1. demonstrate meanings for integers, rational numbers, percents, exponents, square roots, and pi (π) use physical materials and technology in problem-solving situations; (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- 1. represent, describe, and analyze patterns and relationships using tables, graphs, verbal rules, and standard algebraic notation; (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- 5. solve simple linear equations in problem-solving situations using a variety of methods (informal, formal, graphical) and a variety of tools (physical materials, calculators, computers). (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- 1. read and construct displays of data using appropriate techniques (for example, line graphs, circle graphs, scatter plots, box plots, stem-and-leaf plots) and appropriate technology; (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- 1. estimate, use, and describe measures of distance, perimeter, area, volume, capacity, weight, mass, and angle comparison; (Grades 5 - 8)  ...show
- Colorado: Science
- 2.1 Students know that matter has characteristic properties, which are related to its composition and structure. (Grades 0 - 12)  ...show
- Standard 5:
Students know and understand interrelationships among science, technology, and human activity and how they can affect the world. (Grades 0 - 12)  ...show
- Standard 1:
Students understand the processes of scientific investigation and design, conduct, communicate about, and evaluate such investigations. (Grades 0 - 12)  ...show
- Common Core State Standards for Mathematics: Math
- c. Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quantity); solve problems involving finding the whole, given a part and the percent. (Grade 6)  ...show
- d. Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities. (Grade 6)  ...show
- 2. Use data from a random sample to draw inferences about a population with an unknown characteristic of interest. Generate multiple samples (or simulated samples) of the same size to gauge the variation in estimates or predictions. For example, estimate the mean word length in a book by randomly sampling words from the book; predict the winner of a school election based on randomly sampled survey data. Gauge how far off the estimate or prediction might be. (Grade 7)  ...show
- a. Decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, e.g., by testing for equivalent ratios in a table or graphing on a coordinate plane and observing whether the graph is a straight line through the origin. (Grade 7)  ...show
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Define flow rate.
- Conduct an experiment to determine the flow rate of a faucet.
- Calculate flow rates from experimental data.
- Convert flow rates from gps to cfs units.
- Faucet Flow Rate student handout and worksheets (provided as attachments to this document)
- water faucet
- gallon jug or empty milk jug
- stopwatch (or a wristwatch or wall clock with a second hand)
- Flow Rate Experiment Student Guide (see Attachments section)
- Gather materials and make copies of the Flow Rate Experiment Student Guide.
- Hand out the Faucet Flow Rate student handouts.
- As a class, explain the experiment and read the procedure.
- Divide the class into groups of three or four students each.
- Have students begin the experiment; assist as necessary. Make sure that they record the data in the correct worksheet locations (Table 1 for the quarter blast data, Table 2 for the half blast data, and Table 3 for the full blast data)
- When students are finished with the faucet, timing and jug filling, instruct them to dry their lab area and begin graphing and calculations. The calculation of flow rates in gallons per second takes place in Tables 1, 2 and 3. The calculation of flow rates in cubic feet per second takes place in Table 4.
- If necessary, assign calculations as homework.
Bobby Rinehart, Karen Johnson, Mike Mooney
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2005 Colorado School of Mines
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines
Last modified: October 12, 2015