Wind Generator

Build a wind turbine and test different blade designs to generate electricity.

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Windmills have been used for hundreds of years to collect energy from the wind in order to pump water, grind grain, and more recently generate electricity. There are many possible designs for the blades of a wind generator and engineers are always trying new ones. Design and test your own wind generator, then try to improve it by running a small electric motor connected to a voltage sensor.

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Subject
Engineering

Focus Area
Probeware

Grade Level
Elementary School

License
CC BY 4.0

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

3. The Nature of Technology

3B. Design and Systems
  • 3B/E1*. By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that there is no perfect design. Designs that are best in one respect (safety or ease of use, for example) may be inferior in other ways (cost or appearance). Usually some features must be sacrificed to get others.
  • 3B/M3a. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that almost all control systems have inputs, outputs, and feedback.
  • 3B/M4a. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that systems fail because they have faulty or poorly matched parts, are used in ways that exceed what was intended by the design, or were poorly designed to begin with.

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 4E/M4*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 4G/M4** (NSES). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • 8C/E1. By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that moving air and water can be used to run machines.
  • 8C/M2. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences.
  • 8C/M5*. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
  • 8C/M8** (SFAA). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that people have invented ingenious ways of deliberately bringing about energy transformations that are useful to them.

11. Common Themes

11A. Systems
  • 11A/E1. By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that in something that consists of many parts, the parts usually influence one another.
  • 11A/M1. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that a system can include processes as well as things.
  • 11A/M2. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that thinking about things as systems means looking for how every part relates to others. The output from one part of a system (which can include material, energy, or information) can become the input to other parts. Such feedback can serve to control what goes on in the system as a whole.
11B. Models
  • 11B/E2*. By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that geometric figures, number sequences, graphs, diagrams, sketches, number lines, maps, and oral and written descriptions can be used to represent objects, events, and processes in the real world.
  • 11B/E3** (SFAA). By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that a model of something is similar to, but not exactly like, the thing being modeled. Some models are physically similar to what they are representing, but others are not.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 12C/E1. By the end of the 5th grade, students should be able to choose appropriate common materials for making simple mechanical constructions and repairing things.
  • 12C/E6** (BSL). By the end of the 5th grade, students should be able to use audio and video recording devices for capturing information.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 12D/E4** (BSL). By the end of the 5th grade, students should be able to read simple tables and graphs produced by others and describe what the tables and graphs show.
  • 12D/M2. By the end of the 8th grade, students should be able to read simple tables and graphs produced by others and describe in words what they show.

Copyright
© Copyright The Concord Consortium

Record Link
<a href="">The Concord Consortium. Wind Generator. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2012, May 21.</a>

AIP
Wind Generator (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2012, May 21), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

AJP
Wind Generator (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2012, May 21), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

APA
Wind Generator. (2012, May 21). Retrieved 2017, June 25, from The Concord Consortium: https://concord.org/

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

This activity runs entirely in a Web browser. Preferred browsers are: Google Chrome (versions 30 and above), Safari (versions 7 and above), Firefox (version 30 and above), Internet Explorer (version 10 or higher), and Microsoft's Edge.

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Innovative Technology in Science InquiryThis resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry project.

Grade Level
Elementary School
Subject
Engineering
Focus Area
Probeware
Rating
0
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