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Students go through the design process and the scientific process to test the effect of blade design on power output. There is an optional extension to use the data to create an optimal set of wind turbine blades.

Activity takes at least 5 class periods and can be extended. Additional materials required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Performance Expectation, 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts, 7 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 8 Cross Cutting Concepts, 8 Science and Engineering Practices

Energy Literacy

Other materials addressing:
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations
Other materials addressing:
G) Drawing conclusions and developing explanations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:B) Designing investigations
Other materials addressing:
B) Designing investigations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:C) Energy
Other materials addressing:
C) Energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
Other materials addressing:
D) Technology.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Teachers need to allocate storage space for the wind turbines during construction.
  • Educators will want to provide additional content about the science of wind energy as a source of renewable energy, including energy storage, transmission, etc.
  • Activities like this have been used in energy, weather, and environmental science units as well as in physics classrooms to teach aerodynamics.

About the Science

  • Models the scientific process - especially hypothesis testing.
  • The testing of actual blade models will reinforce the importance of blade design.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Great resource for a hands on experimentation. It's quite old (11 years) so some of the newer concepts in blade design aren't covered. There has been a lot of work in this area. However, this project focuses more on the fundamentals of wind power, so the age of the resource isn't of great concern.

About the Pedagogy

  • With additional scaffolding, it can be used in energy, weather, and environmental science units or to teach students how to properly set up and use the scientific process while exploring something new and different.
  • Technology teachers could use this lesson to teach about the design process and integrate science concepts.
  • The activity could also be used as a small segment in a month-long exploration of wind energy (it would require more scaffolding to do this effectively).
  • Great teaching materials with good handouts.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Substantial preparation time required to implement activity.
  • Educator must be familiar with wind turbine models and should experiment with one before attempting to do this project.
  • Educator needs to provide specific instructions to standardize turbine testing.
  • The resource is built around the background materials and kits available for sale at http://www.kidwind.org, however materials can be purchased elsewhere.
  • Links that are broken: http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/manu/bladtest.htm and http://www.awea.org/projects
    Instead use http://www.windpower.org/en/ for Danish Wind Association site and http://www.awea.org/ for American Wind Energy Association site.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Additional teaching materials are available from KidWind: http://www.kidwind.org/#!windwise-1/ovnrg.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:


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