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Wind Story

WPSU (Penn State University broadcast station), Teachers' Domain

This animation presents the characteristics of wind power as a source of clean energy. The viewer may examine how a wind turbine works by pausing and clicking on its components. They include a gear box, rotor, high-speed shaft, generator, wind vane, yaw drive, yaw motor, anemometer, controller, tower, and brake.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

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

  • Do a verbal review of the parts of the wind generator with students after they view the animation.
  • Educator may want to turn sound off (which is loud and somewhat annoying) and narrate the video themselves.

About the Science

  • This animation presents the characteristics of wind power as a source of clean energy.
  • Statistics about the growth of wind power are likely to be outdated, as the growth of wind energy is changing rapidly. Educators are encouraged to seek up-to-date information prior to showing the video. Current (as of 2016) information can be found from the American Wind Energy Association or the Energy Information Administration
  • The pro-wind perspective in this video presents only the positives of the wind industry.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The "Background Essay" and "Discussion Questions" are particularly interesting and useful. The interactive section does a fine job of describing all the essential parts of commercial wind turbines.

About the Pedagogy

  • A good background essay and discussion questions accompany the animation.
  • Learners can learn about the working parts of a wind generator by clicking on each component.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.

MS-PS3.A1:Motion energy is properly called kinetic energy; it is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed.

MS-PS3.A2:A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions.

MS-PS3.B1:When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Energy and Matter

MS-C5.1:Matter is conserved because atoms are conserved in physical and chemical processes.

MS-C5.3:Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).

MS-C5.4:The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-PS3.A2:At the macroscopic scale, energy manifests itself in multiple ways, such as in motion, sound, light, and thermal energy.

HS-PS3.B2:Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems

HS-PS3.B3:Mathematical expressions, which quantify how the stored energy in a system depends on its configuration (e.g. relative positions of charged particles, compression of a spring) and how kinetic energy depends on mass and speed, allow the concept of conservation of energy to be used to predict and describe system behavior.

HS-PS3.B4:The availability of energy limits what can occur in any system.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Energy and Matter

HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.

HS-C5.3:Energy cannot be created or destroyed—only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems.

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