90 Minutes | 3rd – 8th Grades
This activity provides an introduction to the sources of renewable energy, with a focus on wind power. Students will then be introduced to the wind turbine activity, in which they create blades for their own turbine, working in groups of 2-4. The blades are fit to the Center for STEM Education’s wind turbines, which are used to either generate electricity via a motor, or lift a weight (box of crayons) via a drive shaft. Both models can be used to calculate the amount of watts generated by the students’ blades. By adjusting the size (area) of the blades, the shape, angle, and length of arm (radius), students can analyze which designs work best.
This activity has highly variable range of levels of intricacy, and can be conducted very effectively with any range of students.
Earth and Space Science: 1.4. Unequal Heating of Earth, 1.5. Revolution Around Tilted Axis, 2.1. Renewable Energy Sources, 2.2. Carbon Cycle and Effects of Renewable Energy on the Environment, Scientific Inquiries 1-4.
Physics: 2.3 Work as Mechanical Energy. 2.5 Power as Work per Time.
Wind Turbine Lesson Plan