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Wind Farms

In this phenomena students will study what wind farms are and how they work. They’ll also discover how wind turbines convert energy from the moving air of wind into electricity. 

Location
All over Iowa

Driving Question

  • How do wind turbines convert energy from the wind into electricity?

Probing Questions

  • What are some of the different ways communities could get energy? Do you think wind energy is a good option? 
  • Why might wind turbines be shaped the way they are shaped? How might they work if they were shaped differently? 

Classroom Suggestions

Students could:

  • Develop an understanding of the concept by watching videos on how wind turbines work. 
  • Students could visit a wind farm, a possible wind turbine engineer, or someone who works with wind turbines to give an understanding of why wind farms exist and what they do for us. 
  • Students could create and design their own wind turbine model so they can understand the parts of a wind turbine and how they work.

Relevant Related Resources

  • Mid-American Energy Company: This article gives many wind farm facts that teachers could explain in their classroom. Students can also do further research within this article. This article also answers some important questions about wind farms, including: 
    • How many turbines are in MidAmerican’s fleet?
    • How important is wind power to MidAmerican?
    • How fast can a wind turbine spin?
    • How big are wind turbines?
    • How much electricity can be generated from wind farms? 
  • Teach Engineering: This article/website shows an experiment that students could do (with the help of teachers - probably a class project since it is complex). The website walks through the process of designing a wind turbine. Students can begin by watching the demonstration video, then walk through the materials needed, and the procedure as a class. This website also has more information including vocabulary words, summary, learning objectives, etc.
  • Iowa Public Radio - A Century of Service: This is a news report on how wind farms get started and it briefly explains the process of how to go about beginning a wind farm. This article will go through some opposition that will help students understand how wind farms are complex.
  • Ted Talk: This would be a good introduction video for the student that teachers could use to help students understand wind turbines. 

Iowa Core Alignment

4-PS3-4:

Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another

Credit Info

REAPCorporation for Public BroadcastingAlliant EnergyMusco LightingPella