Monday, April 13, 2009

Wind Power Unit Study Day 1: Where Does Wind Come From?

Since it looks like we have lost the sun to the spring rains, we've temporarily abandoned our solar studies and turned instead to a study of wind power (which, as we learned today is a form of solar power anyway). We started with an introduction to the topic of wind power by asking, "Where does wind come from?" We hope to delve deeper into the science and technicalities of wind power as the week continues. For today, here is a breakdown of our introduction, in case you'd like to follow along.

  • Watch Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm. This provides a simple explanation of where wind comes from, for younger children. We viewed the episode for free at .

  • Check out the kid's page of the Danish Wind Industry Association's site - - Click on the wind tab, under the "How Does it Work" heading, for a little more in depth explanation of where wind comes from. This site is aimed at children 12-14, but has useful information and links or students clear through high school.

  • Change the "Wind With Miller" page into German, French or Spanish (by changing the "en" in the link above to a "de", "fr" or "es" respectively. Enjoy a little language learning while you study about wind power!

  • Experiment with wind. Use the "windy wind serpent" handout from the GE Energy site - you will need string and a lit candle to go with the handout. This experiment allows the children to see for themselves the movement caused by air rising as it is heated.

  • Read Psalm 148: 7-13 - just to keep things in perspective.

Today, being just an introduction, was fairly light. There was not really any math or geography involved, but as math and physics figure pretty heavily into the study of wind generated power, one day away from math won't hurt. There are also plenty of opportunities to add geography into a study of wind power (map the wind farms in your state, the country, the world - do a quick search for a wind resource map of you state- follow the path of the components of a wind turbine, as they move from their respective factories to a given wind farm, why do they pick the routes they do? How does geography combined with the size of the load affect the choice of the route?)

Hopefully, we'll have more of this study to follow! As with our solar studies, we are eager to find experiments that have real world applications. We would like to do more with science than light a tiny light bulb or make our baking soda fizzle with vinegar (not that isn't fun too)!

It's great to be a homeschooler!

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