FANtastic: Using Wind Energy

Explore how students can learn more about renewable energy and how it can improve the quality of life for those around us.

Grades 3-5 45 min Resource by:

In this lesson, students will apply the first four stages of the design thinking process through discovering environmental issues related to fossil fuels and the benefits of renewable energy. There will be a strong focus on wind energy and maximizing its utility.

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Learning Objectives

  • Investigate renewable and nonrenewable energies, while distinguishing between and citing advantages of both types of energy.
  • Understand the concept of wind energy and how it can improve the quality of life for people in their community.

What You’ll Need

Hands-on

Minds-on

  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Ideate
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Growth mindset

The Wind Energy Organizer student resource is available in print and digital versions. Students will need the use of computers or laptops to complete the digital student resource as well as a Wind Energy Virtual Lab. Students may work individually or as partners in completing the virtual lab. The final two slides in the presentation are designed for a lesson extension and can be skipped if you choose not to include the extension.

  • Why should we try to use fewer fossil fuels?
  • What are some types of renewable resources, and how can renewable resources improve the lives of those around you?

For Students

  • In the 3M Wind Energy Virtual Lab, students can determine which of the six blade variables makes the largest difference in energy generation. Students can change one single variable, click “test,” document the response, and repeat with another variable after changing the previous variable back to its original state. Students can create a table to collect the data from their changes to provide evidence to support their claim as to which of the blade variables makes the largest difference.

For Teachers

  • Utilize Slides 19 and 20 in the FANtastic: Using Wind Energy Presentation to guide students in using Google Earth to find locations within their local area that would be suitable for wind turbine placement. Students can identify three possible locations for the wind turbine and describe why these locations were chosen.
  • Have students make a single selection from the choices established in the previous extension. Have them write a paragraph explaining the characteristics of the area that would make it the best performer locally for a new wind turbine. You may utilize Slides 19 and 20 for this activity. You may consider adding the following prompt for this extension:
    • Of the three locations, which one is the very best location? Explain why that location was chosen. Be sure to support your response with evidence!
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