the National Energy Education Development Project
Available Languages: English, Spanish
This resource for Grades 7-9 provides turn-key lessons for teaching a two-week unit on the use of wind energy to generate electricity. The first week is a study of the history and science underlying wind energy; the second week features an engineering design project for students to build their own windmill blades. In the culminating activity, students take on various community roles to decide where to locate a wind farm. This resource includes every component required for immediate classroom use: lesson plans, illustrated lab procedures, pre and post-test assessments, age-appropriate background information, worksheets, graphics for classroom projection, and student guidebooks. The NEED Project is a national initiative to bring innovative curriculum materials in energy education to teachers and learners from the primary grades through college.
Note: The windmill blade design activity requires purchase of a kit costing $450.00. All other activities can be performed using materials easily acquired from hardware stores or science supply houses.
Editor's Note:See Related Materials for a link to the Student Guide that accompanies this unit.
Lesson plans and Teachers Guide are available for free download and may be reproduced for educational purposes. Lab kits may be purchased from the NEED Project or obtained from science supply retailers.
clean energy, energy conversion, energy flow, energy forms, energy lessons, energy sources, energy transformation, green energy, renewable energy, wind farms, wind turbine
Metadata instance created
May 13, 2013
by Caroline Hall
February 13, 2014
by Lyle Barbato
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
3. The Nature of Technology
3C. Issues in Technology
6-8: 3C/M6. Rarely are technology issues simple and one-sided. Relevant facts alone, even when known and available, usually do not settle matters. That is because contending groups may have different values and priorities. They may stand to gain or lose in different degrees, or may make very different predictions about what the future consequences of the proposed action will be.
6-8: 3C/M8. Scientific laws, engineering principles, properties of materials, and construction techniques must be taken into account in designing engineering solutions to problems.
6-8: 3C/M9. In all technologies, there are always trade-offs to be made.
4. The Physical Setting
4E. Energy Transformations
6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
8. The Designed World
8C. Energy Sources and Use
6-8: 8C/M2. Different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences.
6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.
6-8: 8C/M5. Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
6-8: 8C/M8. People have invented ingenious ways of deliberately bringing about energy transformations that are useful to them.
6-8: 8C/M10. Some resources are not renewable or renew very slowly. Fuels already accumulated in the earth, for instance, will become more difficult to obtain as the most readily available resources run out. How long the resources will last, however, is difficult to predict. The ultimate limit may be the prohibitive cost of obtaining them.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11A/M2. Thinking about things as systems means looking for how every part relates to others. The output from one part of a system (which can include material, energy, or information) can become the input to other parts. Such feedback can serve to control what goes on in the system as a whole.
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
9-12: 11B/H5. The behavior of a physical model cannot ever be expected to represent the full-scale phenomenon with complete accuracy, not even in the limited set of characteristics being studied. The inappropriateness of a model may be related to differences between the model and what is being modeled.
12. Habits of Mind
12C. Manipulation and Observation
6-8: 12C/M3. Make accurate measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices.
6-8: 12C/M5. Analyze simple mechanical devices and describe what the various parts are for; estimate what the effect of making a change in one part of a device would have on the device as a whole.
6-8: 12C/M6. Make safe electrical connections with various plugs, sockets, and terminals.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)
MP.3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically.
Ratios and Proportional Relationships (6-7)
Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve
6.RP.3.d Use ratio reasoning to convert measurement units; manipulate and transform units appropriately when multiplying or dividing quantities.
Expressions and Equations (6-8)
Reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities. (6)
6.EE.6 Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.
6.EE.7 Solve real-world and mathematical problems by writing and solving equations of the form x + p = q and px = q for cases in which p, q and x are all nonnegative rational numbers.
Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and
algebraic expressions and equations. (7)
7.EE.3 Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies.
Analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear
8.EE.7.b Solve linear equations with rational number coefficients, including equations whose solutions require expanding expressions using the distributive property and collecting like terms.
Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12
Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Craft and Structure (6-12)
RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6—8 texts and topics.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
RST.6-8.10 By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6—8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12
Text Types and Purposes (6-12)
1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. (WHST.6-8.1)
Research to Build and Present Knowledge (6-12)
WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
WHST.6-8.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
<a href="http://www.thephysicsfront.org/items/detail.cfm?ID=12743">National Energy Education Development Project. NEED Project: Energy from the Wind. Manassas: National Energy Education Development Project, 2012.</a>
NEED Project: Energy from the Wind. (2012). Retrieved August 28, 2016, from National Energy Education Development Project: http://www.need.org/files/curriculum/guides/Energy%20from%20the%20Wind%20Teacher%20Guide.pdf
National Energy Education Development Project. NEED Project: Energy from the Wind. Manassas: National Energy Education Development Project, 2012. http://www.need.org/files/curriculum/guides/Energy%20from%20the%20Wind%20Teacher%20Guide.pdf (accessed 28 August 2016).
NEED Project: Energy from the Wind. Manassas: National Energy Education Development Project, 2012. 28 Aug. 2016 <http://www.need.org/files/curriculum/guides/Energy%20from%20the%20Wind%20Teacher%20Guide.pdf>.
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%0 Electronic Source %D 2012 %T NEED Project: Energy from the Wind %I National Energy Education Development Project %V 2016 %N 28 August 2016 %9 application/pdf %U http://www.need.org/files/curriculum/guides/Energy%20from%20the%20Wind%20Teacher%20Guide.pdf
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