Wind Energy

Wind Energy

There are three videos to choose from to learn about wind energy.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second two will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

You may see a number of other videos that are a deeper dive into things you might be interested in. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project. 

High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with one of the advanced learning projects in the Projects section.

Take A Deeper Dive!

This video explains where the wind comes from, the factors that influence it, and how fast it can go.

Investigate the science of wind currents around the globe, and a phenomenon called the Coriolis effect.

Dig deeper into the science of wind turbine technology.

Activities

Make a Wind Pinwheel

You will need:

  • 15 cm x 15cm piece of card
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Straw
  • Bamboo skewers
  • 2cm long nail
  • Sellotape

Follow the instructions in the video and create a wind pinwheel.

Take a photo of your pinwheel in action to include in your portfolio.

Design an Energy-Efficient Wind Turbine

Use this virtual lab from YoungScientistLab.com to design, build and test a wind turbine. Your challenge is to create the most efficient wind turbine, able to supply 400 homes with electricity for a year. 

Take a screenshot, print as a PDF, or sketch your final design, and include it in your portfolio.

Project

Build an Anemometer to Measure Wind Speed

An anemometer is an instrument used to measure speed. Scientists and engineers need to collect wind-speed data for many reasons. When planning a wind farm, the correct area must be chosen to ensure a consistent supply of energy.

“Anemometer” by morebyless is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, click here

Create your anemometer and investigate the best area locally for a wind turbine. Before you undertake your experiment, you need to make a hypothesis. This is a short statement which states what you think will happen and why. For example, you might believe that the best place for a wind turbine is in your back garden because it is a large open space.

Write a short hypothesis before continuing.

To make your own anemometer you will need:

  • 4 small paper cups
  • Pushpin/drawing pin
  • Sharpened pencil with an eraser on the end
  • Timer, clock or watch 
  • A thick piece of cardboard: cut into two strips 13-23 cm long
  • Modelling clay
  • Scissors
  • Marker pen
  • Ruler
  • Stapler

Once you have gathered your supplies, watch the video to see how to put everything together.

Take your anemometer outside and see if you can measure the wind speed! To calculate wind speed, you need to record the number of anemometer spins per minute (also known as the rotational rate). Measure the wind speed in a few different areas and compare your results.

Was your hypothesis correct? Why? Why not?

Things to think about:

  • When the anemometer is rotating, what type of energy does it have?
  • How could you adapt your anemometer to make it more efficient?
  • Was the place you chose to test a good place for a wind turbine? Why or why not?

Advanced Projects

Write an opinion piece outlining your view on wind farms

Is wind power the solution to our energy problem? Opinions are mixed.

The construction of wind farms often comes with some controversy. While the energy they produce is ‘clean’, the issues around where to place new farms, and the impact they may have on the local area, is politically complex. 

This factsheet, created by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (the-ies.org), outlines the differing opinions between the UK Government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the energy industry and scientists.

Using the factsheet, and your previous knowledge, create a list of the advantages and disadvantages of wind power. You can use this template from TimVanDeVall.com to help organise your ideas.

Download and print this outline tool, from StudentTreasures.com, to help you organize your opinion piece.  Be sure to use a tool like Grammarly to help improve and edit your writing.

Include a copy of your final written piece in your portfolio.

Design a wind turbine

Wind turbines have become a common sight in many areas around the world, but not all wind turbines are the same. Scientists and engineers are working together to create the most energy-efficient designs. The most efficient design will be able to convert the largest amount of wind energy (kinetic energy) into electricity (electrical energy).

Watch the videos below to learn more about the different designs and applications for wind turbines.

Your challenge is to design a wind turbine suitable for use in your local area. Think about:

  • The space available
  • The best place for a wind turbine
  • Potential environmental impact
  • Potential visual impact

Draw your design, either by hand or using digital software. Be sure to explain the features of your design and an explanation as to why it is the more suitable choice for your chosen space.

Include a copy of your design in your portfolio.

Books

Click on a book to buy it from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library.

Read Aloud Books