TAME Engineering Adventure: Wind Power

TAME Engineering Adventure: Wind Power
Welcome to TAME Engineering Adventures! Every month we strive to bring you two engineering activities (one for middle school, one for high school) that will help you challenge your students with hands-on learning. 

For this blustery spring, we've picked two wind-powered adventures so awesome, they are sure to blow your students away!

Middle School Adventure: Simple Sail Car
Challenge your students to build a sail car. Which sail shapes go the fastest?

TEKs Tie-Ins: Adaptable for any age, these racers can fit in with 5th graders’ study of alternative energy sources, or can introduce middle or high school students to elementary physics concepts such as lift, inertia, and drag.

Bonus: How does each sail car function when weight is added to it? Students can experiment with different ways to carry the load.

High School Adventure: Wind Turbines

This is another great Rube-Goldberg style activity to help high school students learn about what it takes to engineer an idea into a finished product. Students learn about alternative energy sources while experimenting with making their own wind turbines. This activity can be adapted for any age from kindergarten to high school, fitting in with 5th graders’ study of alternative energy sources, or introducing older students to elementary physics concepts.

Tip: Hold back from explaining how a wind turbine works until your students have a chance to figure it out for themselves. Lead with questions!

TEKs Tie-Ins: Introduce this challenge to your Environmental Systems class to cover TEKs concepts like:
  • use and conservation of both renewable and non-renewable resources
  • sustainability
  • waste management methods
  • non-renewable resource depletion predictions
Bonus: After the experiment, share this inspirational TED TalkTalk (5:55) about how a 14 year old boy struggling with poverty and famine built a wind turbine to power his family’s home. Once your students have figured out how to build a wind turbine themselves, hearing what William went through--and how much it meant to him to learn physics, electrical wiring, and engineering--is sure to strike an emotional chord with them.

Looking for more? 

These ideas come from our curated idea boards on Pinterest. If you liked these, you'll love our Engineering: Activities for All Ages board!

With over 3,000 pins organized into 46 different boards, TAME's Pinterest presence is specially curated to help teachers, parents, and students of all ages get excited about STEM. 

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