(Editor’s Note: This review is for an older edition of the hydropower kit. We have incorporated feedback from users that have tried the newer version as well to provide a current perspective)
Thames & Kosmos Hydropower Renewable Energy Science Kit
Thames & Kosmos Product Description
The Thames & Kosmos Hydropower Renewable Energy Science Kit (T&K website) provides numerous examples for children to learn how we can extract energy from moving water. Kids will be able to conduct up to 8 hands-on experiments with the help of a 32-page color manual that provides step-by-step directions.
The 8 experiments (12 experiments in the newest version) use 6 different building projects: water wheel, sawmill, water tower, fountain, hammer mill, and water wheel with generator. With these projects, users will learn about surface cohesion, surface tension, and adhesion.
Thames & Kosmos Hydropower Review
The Thames & Kosmos Hydropower science kit is one of the better products available to teach children about hydropower. Whether as a toy or science project demonstration, the kit is straightforward and easily demonstrates basic scientific principles.
- The models are easy to understand, making them a great STEM learning kit.
- Projects can mostly be completed independently by children–especially those 10 years or older–using the 32-page manual. Most parts connect together easily.
- The manual, despite containing no words, are easy to follow. Moreover, it contains educational material independent of the models themselves.
- Most parts seems to be well-made and durable. We tried bending the harder plastic pieces and nothing snapped with moderate pressure applied.However, we have not tested the kit extensively for hours. Some parents have reported that parts fail after repeated use (10-20 hours of play). Also, a small number of parts are made of flimsy plastic that tears easily.
- Projects require a large amount of water to generate electricity. This can lead to messiness which may require use to occur in a limited number of places (e.g., outside).
- As mentioned above, some parts are made of flimsy plastic that requires the user to punch out. Parents may want to assist children with this step since it is easy to tear the plastic. Also, the parts are not study when in use and generally children must avoid touching when in use.
- The kit costs more than I would expect given the number of components. However, it takes a good amount of time (est. 30 minutes per project) to complete all 12 projects. Also, it is reasonable if needing a last minute science fair project.
- The motor cover prevents users from seeing the motor move. This, along with the clear plastic used, limits its usefulness as a classroom demonstration tool. Teachers can overcome the limitation by allowing students to gather around the kit or observing while in small groups.
Thames & Kosmos Hydropower Demonstration Videos
Have experience with the Thames & Kosmos Hydropower science kit? Let us know in the comments!