Sunday, December 7, 2008

Teaching the Wind

Wind Turbines in Iowa

Take your students outside for a lesson on measuring wind speed and direction. It's always great fun to get outside for a science lesson!

I've done this many times and just love taking kids outside with a lab. They will be running all over the school yard, but they will all be busy doing science!

First, have them make a simple wind anemometer inside. Then calibrate the anemometer outside using the Beaufort Wind Scale. This might take several days, because you want several different wind speeds to calibrate. Just going outside for five minutes to add another calibration is a good adventure. Builds anticipation for the actual Wind Lab!

The actual day of the Wind Lab, have them measure wind speed or wind speed AND DIRECTION in several different locations. You'll need a schoolyard map, including the "footprint" of the school building for this. When all the information is collected on one transparency when you get back inside, you have a map of the wind and its various ebbs and flows all around the school.

Students will begin to see what obstructions can do to the wind, how both speed and direction can be affected.

CONSIDER THIS: Make a Wind Anemometer. Calibrate the Anemometer. Measure the Wind in your Schoolyard. View a PowerPoint about the Beaufort Wind Scale.

CONSIDER THIS: Kick it up a notch and teach Wind Turbines and using Wind to generate electricity! Wind Energy Education Resources.

FUN LINKS: Wind Lab, including making and calibrating an Anemometer.
Beaufort Wind Scale PowerPoint.
Make a Beaufort Wind Dial.
Make a Pinwheel Wind Turbine.
Make a Simple Wind Turbine.

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