ALEX Classroom Resource

  

Windmills: Putting Wind Energy to Work

  Classroom Resource Information  

Title:

Windmills: Putting Wind Energy to Work

URL:

https://aptv.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.engin.design.lp_windmill/windmills-putting-wind-energy-to-work/

Content Source:

PBS
Type: Lesson/Unit Plan

Overview:

For hundreds of years, people have harnessed moving air (wind) to do work. The earliest forms of wind-powered machines were sailboats. Wind pushing against the sails of a boat provided the energy to move the boat across the water, saving people the trouble of rowing. Later, people discovered that if they attached sail-like panels to a wheel at the top of a stationary tower, wind blowing against the panels would cause the wheel and the central shaft to which it was attached to turn. The shaft drove mechanisms inside the tower that were used to mill, or grind, grain into flour. These wind-driven mills were called, simply, windmills. And even though wind-driven machines are now also used to pump water from wells and to generate electricity, the name windmill has stuck.

In this activity, students review the engineering design process and discuss how wind can be used to help get work done. They look at a variety of windmills, focusing on the different materials used in the construction of windmills and the type of work each windmill is designed to do. Finally, they use simple materials to build their own windmills to do work.

Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
4 ) Design, construct, and test a device that changes energy from one form to another (e.g., electric circuits converting electrical energy into motion, light, or sound energy; a passive solar heater converting light energy into heat energy).*


NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P4.11: Electricity flowing through an electrical circuit produces magnetic effects in the wires. In an electrical circuit containing a battery, a bulb, and a bell, energy from the battery is transferred to the bulb and the bell, which in turn transfer the energy to their surroundings as light, sound, and heat (thermal energy).

NAEP Statement::
P4.7: Heat (thermal energy), electricity, light, and sound are forms of energy.§

NAEP Statement::
P4.8: Heat (thermal energy) results when substances burn, when certain kinds of materials rub against each other, and when electricity flows though wires. Metals are good conductors of heat (thermal energy) and electricity. Increasing the temperature of any substance requires the addition of energy.


Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter
Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Given a problem to solve, students collaboratively design a device that converts energy from one form to another. In the design, students:
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • criteria
  • constraint
  • energy
  • device
  • convert
  • design
  • construct
  • kinetic
  • potential
  • transform
  • evidence
  • engineering design process
  • ask
  • imagine
  • plan
  • create
  • improve
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Energy can be transferred from place to place by electric currents.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Use scientific knowledge to generate design solutions that convert energy from one form to another.
  • Describe the given criteria and constraints of the design, which include the following:
    • The initial and final forms of energy.
    • Describe how the solution functions to transfer energy from one form to another.
  • Evaluate potential solutions in terms of the desired features.
  • Modify the design solutions to make them more effective.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
  • Engineers improve existing technologies or develop new ones but are limited by available resources.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.4- Identify common sources of energy used every day (e.g., electricity, gas, sun).


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
5 ) Compile information to describe how the use of energy derived from natural renewable and nonrenewable resources affects the environment (e.g., constructing dams to harness energy from water, a renewable resource, while causing a loss of animal habitats; burning of fossil fuels, a nonrenewable resource, while causing an increase in air pollution; installing solar panels to harness energy from the sun, a renewable resource, while requiring specialized materials that necessitate mining).


NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E4.6: Some Earth materials have properties either in their present form or after design and modification that make them useful in solving human problems and enhancing the quality of life, as in the case of materials used for building or fuels used for heating and transportation.

NAEP Statement::
E4.7: The Sun warms the land, air, and water and helps plants grow.


Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Energy
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Combine information across complex texts and other reliable media to describe how the use of energy derived from natural renewable and nonrenewable resources affects the environments.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • natural resources
  • natural renewable resources
  • nonrenewable resources
  • fossil fuels
  • air pollution
  • pollution
  • solar energy
  • environment
  • effects
  • affects
  • habitat
  • solar panel
  • impact
  • solution
  • derived
  • harness
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • How energy is derived from natural resources.
  • How energy resources derived from natural resources address human energy needs.
  • Positive and negative environmental effects of using each energy resource.
  • The role of technology in improving or mediating the environmental effects of using a given resource.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Waves, which are the regular patterns of motion, can be made in water by disturbing the surface.
  • When waves move across the surface of deep water, the water goes up and down in place; there is no net motion in the direction of the wave except when the water meets a beach.
  • Waves of the same type can differ in amplitude (height of the wave) and wavelength (spacing between wave peaks).
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources, and their use affects the environment in numerous ways.
  • Resources are renewable over time, while others are not.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.4.5- Identify common resources as renewable or nonrenewable.


Tags: alternative energy, energy, nonrenewable, renewable, windmill
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Author: Stephanie Carver