HISI Microhydro January 30, 2016

Posted in Dyf at 6:10 pm by Beth


HISI teachers met on Saturday January 30,2016, from 8:30am- 2:30pm at Humboldt State University. Links to the materials used at the session are available below.

Agenda for the Day

  • 8:30-8:45 – Discuss modules, lesson study, future plans (Del Norte), and year three dissemination, April 23rd, and time commitments for the remainder of this year. (Michael & Dale)
  • 8:45-1:00 — Micro-Hydro with Lonny Grafman and Beth Eschenbach
  • 12:00-1:00 working lunch – math behind the hydro
  • 1:00-2:00 — survey and testing
  • 2:00-2:30 — coaches meet with teachers


At the end of the day, participants will:

  • Understand micro-hydro systems
  • Have a physical sense of friction, head, flow, power and energy


At the end of the day, participants will be able to:

  • define micro-hydro power
  • diagram the basic components of a micro-hydro system
  • identify and explain the use and purpose of the basic components of a micro-hydro system
  • compute the maximum and net power capacity of a specific micro-hydro system using the appropriate formula and tables
    • explain the relation of pipe size to power loss
    • use pipe friction tables to compute head loss
  • measure head, flow and stride using buckets, timers, sticks, measuring tape and levels
  • explain head and flow, and their relation to power in a micro-hydro system
    • relate head, flow, power and energy in a micro-hydro system to their analogs in electrical circuits
  • assess some of the pros and cons and difficulties with a micro-hydro system

Microhydro Basics

Lonny Grafman provided background information on micro hydro design, physics and math.

The teachers learned how to use the equation below .


Fieldwork: Siting Microhydro

Before lunch, the HISI teachers were split into interdisciplinary teams.  Lonny Grafman and Beth Eschenbach led the participants  into the HSU forest along Jacoby Creek.  The teacher participants learned how to determine the potential head in a hydro system, using simple tools such as a measuring tape, a 5 foot pipe and a level.

 Working Lunch: Friction and Head Loss

The teachers also learned how to use tables to calculate head loss due to friction in pipes. They assumed a 3 inch pipe and learned how to use the interactive spreadsheet.  The session notes showing those calculations are provided above.

Putting It Together

HISI teachers were encouraged to consider how they could use this lab in their own classrooms.  Below are lists of suggested equipment for this lab, as well as a sample pre/post assessment.  Teachers were encouraged to review some of the sustainability curriculum that is linked below.

Suggested Microhydro Field Lab Equipment

For 3 to 9 teams:

  • 3 4-gallon buckets
  • 3 timers
  • floaters (orange peels)

Head station:

  • 1 – 1/2″ pipe 5′ minus width of level sticks
  • 1 – 1″ pipe 5′ minus width of level sticks
  • 1 – 1 1/2″ pipe 5′ minus width of level sticks
  • 3 levels

Stride station:

  • 3 long (50′) tapes
  • 9 clipboards
  • 1 package rainpaper
  • 1 ball of string

Suggested Learning Station

Supporting materials

Background Information

Related Curriculum

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