Fabulous Resources for Energy Education
Resources: Wind Energy
Wind is created by uneven heating of Earth’s surface by the sun. When harnessed, wind can be used as a clean, renewable energy source to help power the world. So who knew a breeze blowing through the trees could have the potential of generating electricity? In Iowa alone, over $9.8 billion dollars have been invested in Iowa’s wind farms, according to Iowa Wind Energy Association. About 75% of Iowa is suitable for wind energy development.
F.R.E.E. (Fabulous Resources for Energy Education) strives to educate students and educators alike about wind energy. We loan many resources to schools and groups across the state to learn more about this valuable natural resource. Our most popular resource includes the KISS Wind Kit, which can teach students the power of wind energy by making their own model wind turbines. Our complete list of wind materials, activities and lesson plans are listed below.
F.R.E.E. Wind Energy Materials:
KISS Wind Kits
(Keep It Simple Students!)
Students are able to create five different wind turbines. The kit also includes instructions on how to create pinwheel and spoke blades. Students can test their own blades with the LED light sticks included in each kit. View the instruction manual (pdf) to see a complete list of everything you receive in a KISS Wind Kit. Available for Iowa educators to borrow (F.R.E.E. Loan Form) or for anyone to purchase (F.R.E.E. Store).
With each propeller kit, students receive nine different kinds of blades that they are able to test out on the wind turbines. Using a multimeter and a hair dryer or fan, students compare output for blade shape, size, and number. This a great critical thinking and hands on experience for the students. Available for Iowa educators to borrow (F.R.E.E. Loan Form).
CAD and 3-D Printing Files
We are now making our propeller blades and wind turbine hubs with a 3-D printer. We are using Inventer software, which you can downlaod free for educational use at http://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/inventor-professional We have provided the ipt files, so you may edit them. Or you may use the stl file to input to your 3-D printer.
Kestral meters allow students to measure the average, instantaneous, and maximum wind speed. Simply by blowing into the blade on top, students can measure their own wind speed and compare their results to the Beaufort scale, charts designed for wind turbines, to see how windy they are in comparison. It’s a fun way to compete with other students for the highest number and to feel how much wind is needed to power a wind turbine. Available for Iowa educators to borrow (F.R.E.E. Loan Form).
Borrow the vinyl cover to turn a matched pair of fans into a safe place to test your wind turbines. You will need your own box or other fans and velcro. Available for Iowa educators to borrow (F.R.E.E. Loan Form). Or make your own tunnel from a tablecloth vinyl available at fabric stores using the instructional video below.
F.R.E.E. Wind Energy Activities and Lesson Plans:
KISS Wind Videos
- Why is Iowa a leader in wind energy and manufacturing? Tom Wind explains how it happened in this video.
- How to make a wind tunnel
- How to make a geared drive wind turbine
- How to make a kabob propeller
- How to make a pinwheel propeller
- How to test the Wind Turbine
- How to make a Direct Drive Wind Turbine
- What can I do with my Wind Kit?
- F.R.E.E. Wind Tunnel
- Best Blade Challenge
- How Windy Are You?
- How to use a multimeter
- Wind turbines on the Eiffel Tower!
- Beaufort scale – Discover wind speed by observing motion in the environment
- How windy are you? - Explore how much wind is needed to power a wind turbine
- Wind Power FUNdamentals – A PowerPoint presentation for wind energy
- Guided Tour - An excellent catalog of easy to read wind information
- Wind with Miller - A fun, educational website about wind energy
- The Tale of Windy Wizard - A great story for younger students
- Graphics for the Windy Wizard – (By Molly Weber)
- Harry Spotter and the Chamber of Windy Myths – (Page 4 has a short play)
- Wind Power Calculator - A display we use to teach about wind energy
- Best Blade Test - Discover how the number of blades, area, and pitch affect performance.
- Best Blade Lesson Plan - The steps we take when teaching about blades with the 5 E's.
- Real Time Wind Map - Watch the winds sweep across the US in real time, or check the archives for Hurricane Sandy.
Other Great Wind Videos
- Siemens's Videos about designing wind turbine blades by Kevin Standish
- From the Ground Up, a video made by MidAmerican Energy of building a turbine with stop-action photography