Mini Turbines





Name of Activity Mini Turbines
Author Jay Clark
Keywords mini turbines, turbines, construct, wind, wind farm, alternative energy
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students build mini turbines and the class splits into two teams to construct competing wind farms. The farm with the most “energy generation” wins.
Lesson Objectives: To introduce students to alternative energies.
Materials Needed: - Paper
- Pencils
- Push pins
- Puddy
- Two fans
Procedure 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)
  • wind
  • water

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.

Reference 1
Reference 2

Making Weather Instruments





Name of Activity Making Weather Instruments
Author Ramona Gravesande
Keywords anemometer, thermometer, construct, weather, conditions, barometer, hygrometer, rain gauge
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will construct an anemometer and a thermometer.
Lesson Objectives: To teach students about weather and measuring weather conditions.
Materials Needed: Rubbing alcohol
Plastic bottles
Food coloring
Plastic straws
Modeling clay
4 small paper cups
2 cardboard strips per student
Pencils with erasers
Necessary Background 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.

rain gauge

  1. Students first make a thermometer:
    1. fill a plastic bottle with equal parts of tap water and rubbing alcohol to about an eight to a quarter full.
    2. Add food coloring.
    3. Place a straw in the bottle and sue modeling class to seal the straw to the bottle so that the straw stays in place making sure it does not touch the bottom of the bottle.
    4. Have students place their hands on the bottle and observe what happens to the liquid in the straw.
  2. To make the anemometer:
    1. Cut the edges off of four paper cups to make them lighter.
    2. Color the outside of one cup with a pen.
    3. Take two strips of cardboard and cross them so they make a plus sign and staple them together.
    4. Use a ruler to draw lines across the cardboard and where the lines intersect is the center of the cross. Staple the cups to the end of the cardboard making sure they all face the same direction.
    5. Push a pin through the center of the cardboard and attach a pencil to the pin, sticking the eraser to the pin.
    6. Blow on the cups to make sure the cardboard spins freely.
Reference 1
Reference 2

Things That Go Bump





Name of Activity Things That Go Bump
Author STOMP
Keywords design, construct, NXT, car, bump, wall, damage, touch sensors
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description In this activity, students will design and construct an NXT car that will stop when it
bumps into a wall to prevent damage to the car.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn to program with touch sensors.
- To create a safety device for an NXT car.
Materials Needed: - NXT Car.
- Assortment of LEGO pieces.
- Computer running NXT software.
Preparation and Set Up:
Set up computers running NXT software.

Arrange students in groups of two.
Distribute necessary material to students.

Necessary Background Vocabulary:
  1. Have students draw out the design for the bumper that they will attach to the front of their car
  2. Have students build an NXT car.
  3. 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.
  4. Wire the motors to the outputs and the sensors to the inputs of the NXT.
  5. Program the NXT vehicle:
    1. If using NXT MINDSTORMS software, program the car to stop when it hits a wall.
    2. 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.
Reference 1
Reference 2
Reference 3

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