March is the perfect month to begin our new Design and Engineering unit called, Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills. Students in River and Sky Classes were introduced to the idea of harnessing wind energy through the Engineering is Elementary storybook titled, Leif Catches the Wind.
The school-age characters in the story use wind energy to design a windmill that powers a propeller that adds air to an oxygen-deprived pond. This engineering project ultimately saves the fish in the pond. River and Sky students made pinwheels following the reading of the story as a fun way to launch this two-month long project.
In this unit, children will be discovering methods that engineers use to capture wind energy and discussing science concepts related to air and wind. They will be engaged in hands-on activities that focus on wind currents, mechanical engineering, and the engineering design process.
Middle School teacher, Tommy Johnson, just attended a wind energy professional development workshop at Appalachian State University. He shared his experience of designing a windmill.
River and Sky students will be making their own windmills. In the next few weeks, students will be testing propeller shapes, experimenting with blade angles, and trying out different blade sizes to see which one can best solve the design problem they’ve been given.
I invite you to visit the KidWind Project website with your child. There are videos, age-appropriate information, and pictures related to the study of wind. www.kidwind.org
Stay tuned for updates on our wind energy projects.