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General Science and Teaching

Wind Turbine Project

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David Boze David Boze 220 Points

Alas, I'm trying to locate wind turbine kits used in a classroom to demonstrate student made fan blades that they attach to the turbine. A fan is used to turn the blades on the wind turbine. I did this at a WSTA conference and was told I could get these kits for free. Unfortunately, I did not get the name of the company that gives these to educators as a freebie. Can someone help me with finding a wind turbine kit as described?

Ruth Hutson Ruth Hutson 63625 Points

There are two places that you might try. The first one is Kid Wind. The second one is The NEED Project. If they can't help you, they may be able to refer you to someone else.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43125 Points

David, thank you for posting this, I am interested in pursuing this with my middle school students as well. If you go to the search feature on the NSTA home page and do a keyword search for “wind turbine project”, you will find 10 results. One of these resources might be able to help you find what you are looking for as well. I will keep checking back to see if anyone may have more information on the specific kit you are referring to.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43125 Points

Hi David, The presentation was done by Puget Sound Energy. The gentleman that was the educator liaison has retired, but I put in a call to a resource at PSE to see if they can tell me who the replacement is. Once I find out more, I will post the information here in the forum.

Colin Delos Reyes Colin Delos Reyes 1430 Points

Kid Wind has a good kit and the students can design different shapes and test them. It is a good inquiry activity. Another thing you could which is very low cost is to get a straw, two pieces of string, tooth picks, a square sheet of paper (some tape) and paperclips. Cut the a paper half way to the center at each corner then a punch hole in the center of the paper and on each corner of the paper. Fold the outer holes over the center hole and insert the straw in the holes. You will have a pinwheel turbine. With one of the strings, tie toothpicks on each end of the string and run that string to through the straw. Tie and tape one end of the second string to the middle of the straw and tie a paperclip to the other end. The students hold the toothpicks to make it spin in front of a fan. Have the students predict how many paperclips their turbine can lift. Then they can test how many paperclips their turbine can lift, by putting paperclips on the one tied to the string. Make it a competition for even more fun. The amount of paperclips the turbine can lift will blow their minds. With some fans I have had students lift over a hundred paperclips.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43125 Points

Colin, I like your idea and followed it for the most part, but became lost trying to figure out exactly how to attach the string and toothpicks to lift the paperclips. I will send you a message to see if there is a way to get a picture, either hand drawn or photo to help me picture this concept. It sounds like a great project for my middle school Design and Engineering class. I am so glad you shared this.

Colin Delos Reyes Colin Delos Reyes 1430 Points

Aloha Sandy, It was actually part of an island energy inquiry workshop that was held on Maui. I found video clips online that give a step by step procedure on how to build the pinwheel. The person who does the videos is the person who ran the workshop. http://www.vimeo.com/album/1493597 Hope this helps and enjoy.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 89208 Points

That was a great, inexpensive way to create wind turbines, Colin. Thanks for sharing the video clips, too. There are a few posts about wind turbines at this discussion thread, too:
Hovercraft and other fun things that move

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43125 Points

David, the best I can figure is Puget Sound Energy was the sponsor of the workshop. You can contact them through http://pse.com/Pages/default.aspx Dig around in the tabs and you will find the education part of their website. Sorry I couldn't narrow it down any further. 1/12/2012 - I reloaded the link, it should work now.

Colin Delos Reyes Colin Delos Reyes 1430 Points

I just tested a new app about renewable energy in Hawai'i with my environmental science class today. It showed a map of the islands and all the different renewable energy sources that are operating on each island. It also had interactive labs that dealt with the different types of energy sources and the students could do virtual experiments manipulating a few variables and looking at the energy output. It not only had wind but solar, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric. You could even have students do it and the results would be emailed to you. It even showed the percentage where each island gets it energy from and info on the different renewable energy projects on each island. It was really cool for the students too, they were really engaged. The app was on iPads which were lent to my class so that the app could be tested. I really wish I had iPads so I could use the app every time I work on energy.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43125 Points

Colin, You are full of useful resources. I would love to use this with my students. What was the name of the actual app? I am waiting on pins and needles for your response. This sounds like something I would like to use immediately.

Stacy Holland Stacy Holland 6865 Points

Colin, what is the app? I would really like to show my students.

Colin Delos Reyes Colin Delos Reyes 1430 Points

I'll get that information to you ASAP. I'm waiting to hear from my contact person to get all the information. My class was only the second test for the app itself and there were a couple of kinks that they were working out but it was still really cool. The only thing I can tell you right now is that the app will not be free. Again as soon as I get the information I will post it.

Colin Delos Reyes Colin Delos Reyes 1430 Points

Here is a link to obtain the app on iTunes. Here is a youtube video link on the app. iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/clean-energy-hawaii-stem-hd/id399143221?mt=8 Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fr9yail-BE

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43125 Points

Colin, thank you for the STEM/Energy App resource. I was able to go into iTunes and download the app and it was free. I’ve had a chance to play around with it a little bit and was impressed with the feedback kids are getting from it. I can’t wait to put it into the hands of my middle school kids for more than just an introduction to see what they can do with it. I would love to hear more how you utilized it with your students.

Erin Mendelson Erin Mendelson 2680 Points

Hi Colin and Sandy, Thank you for the marvelous ideas. My class has been invited by another science teacher from my school to join her class on a field trip to the Kahuku Wind Farm in November. She has received an enormous grant/opportunity through Blue Planet Foundation in Hawaii. If she implements parts of their curriculum into her classroom, the Foundation will sponsor field trips for up to 90 students. My class will tag along this time. I will use both the ipad ap and the pinwheel to prepare my students. Thank you!

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