mini turbines, turbines, construct, wind, wind farm, alternative energy
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
1 Hour Total
Students build mini turbines and the class splits into two teams to construct competing wind farms. The farm with the most “energy generation” wins.
To introduce students to alternative energies.
- Push pins
- Two fans
Lesson How does a car drive? energy! We use energy all the time… and where does the energy from cars come from? gasoline! what’s wrong with using gasoline as energy? there is a finite amount of it on the earth, It can run out! also, it is harmful to the environment. What are some sources of energy that don’t run out?
The sun (for all intents and purposes)
A lot of time, effort, and resources are being put into developing alternative, renewable energy sources. How can we harness the wind’s power? Turbines! Today we’ll be making turbines. What are some things to think about when designing and installing a turbine?
Making it high enough so it is not affected by the boundary layer friction caused by the ground.
Making the base strong enough to counteract the moment caused by the wind.
Making the base strong enough to counteract the moment caused by the spinning blades.
Activity Hand out materials, and have students construct pinwheels according to the directions in the attached document. When all the pinwheels are completed, split the class into two teams to construct competing wind farms. For a successful farm, each turbine should get its own free stream of wind, and should not catch any of the turbulence coming off of a turbine near it.
Students will construct an anemometer and a thermometer.
To teach students about weather and measuring weather conditions.
4 small paper cups
2 cardboard strips per student
Pencils with erasers
A thermometer measures the air temperature. Thermometers are closed glass tubes containing alcohol or mercury. When air around the tube heats the liquid, the liquid expands and moves up the tube. A scale then shows what the actual temperature is. A barometer measures the air pressure. It tells whether or not the pressure is rising or falling. A rising barometer means sunny and dry conditions, while a falling barometer means stormy and wet conditions. A hygrometer measures the water vapor content in the air or the humidity. An anemometer is used to measures the speed of the wind. A rain gauge measure how much rain has fallen. There are different types that are grouped by how they operate: recording rain gauge, non recording rain gauge, and rain intensity gauge.
Arrange students in groups of two.
Distribute necessary material to students.
Have students draw out the design for the bumper that they will attach to the front of their car
Have students build an NXT car.
Have students attach a bumper to their car attached to the touch sensor so that the car can respond when it drives into a wall.
Wire the motors to the outputs and the sensors to the inputs of the NXT.
Program the NXT vehicle:
If using NXT MINDSTORMS software, program the car to stop when it hits a wall.
Once students have program their car to stop when the touch sensor is pressed, have students program their car to back up and turn after the car hits a wall, before driving forward again. This program requires a loop.