Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

First Advisor

Duane Hampton

Second Advisor

Heather Petcovic

Third Advisor

Tycho Fredericks


In the next few years, many teachers will be challenged in new ways. Student engagement will be at a premium and state standards will be more specific, shifting their focus towards college readiness, integration of curriculum, and developing sound reasoning and critical thinking skills. While the education field is accustomed to adapting and adjusting “on the go”, it may be ill-prepared for this fresh round of changes. Teachers and curriculum directors need resources to help them adapt the classrooms to reflect the more comprehensive design implied by the new standards (Next Generation Science Standards, 2012). This paper promotes a spiral water wheel design deeply rooted in history, engineering, and problem solving. The project detailed in the paper addresses the challenges listed above. It takes a project-based learning (PBL) approach, simultaneously affording students multiple opportunities to expand and strengthen their understanding of mathematics, science, engineering, history, and language arts concepts and skills; they also are introduced to hydrology and small scale sustainable energy. Also built in to the water wheel project are the ideal conditions for the development of logical thinking, problems solving skills, cause and effect relationships, and critical thinking skills. All of these elements are purposely embedded in the overarching project to prepare students and teachers for the future. It provides students with the content knowledge and scientific skills demanded of them by our future society. And it grants educational teams the freedom to integrate their required curriculum into a relevant, real-world challenge to enhance learning.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Education Commons