Brief Description:

Students use LEGOs and other materials to build a wind-powered vehicle.

Grades: K-5

Time: 1 hour

Keywords: wind power, engineering design process, legos, sail, alternative energy


Lesson Objectives

  • Students will use LEGOs and other materials to build a wind-powered vehicle.
  • Students will learn about wind power

Materials

  • LEGOs to build simple cars
  • Straws
  • Plastic bags
  • Coffee Filters
  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Fan

Procedure

  1. Introduce wind power to the students. Wind power is power obtained by harnessing the energy of the  wind. This energy can be harnessed mechanically (like spinning the blades of a wind turbine which then spins a rotor which spins a generator to create electricity). Wind power can also be harnessed more passively as with sails on a sailboat. Sailboats “catch” the wind and are propelled forward.
    1. Talk about the places we find wind power.
    2. Talk about why and when wind power is useful.
  2. Challenge students to build a car that will drive when a fan is blowing wind on it.
  3. Allow student to plan and build their wind-powered cars with the materials provided.
  4. Have students test their designs using a fan to simulate wind.
  5. Have students try different sized sails, wheels etc. to see what works the best.
  6. At the end of class let each student demonstrate their fan. Have a class discussion about the different designs. Ask:
    1. Which combinations worked best and why?
    2. Which combinations did not work well? why?
    3. What are some pros and cons of wind power?
    4. What are some of the forces that were affecting the cars? What types of wheels were best? Were lighter or heavier cars better? (you can talk about friction, aerodynamics, force, etc.)

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