Wind for Schools Portal/4-6 Curricula

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Wind for Schools Curricula: Elementary 4 - 6

Getting Started


Elementary students are familiar with the wind as something they experience when they are outside or when the weather changes. Our goal is to build on these experiences and explore wind characteristics as a weather phenomenon and start to introduce the idea that wind has been used, and can be used to do useful work.

Expand Your Understanding

 Concepts and Standards

Wind as Weather Phenomenon


As part of a broader weather study, students can:

  • collect and explore data about the wind over time.
  • explore how and when the wind changes intensity and direction over time.
  • make observations about the wind around their school and at different locations around the world.

Wind Can Do Work


Through experiments and design projects:

  • students can construct devices that use the wind to make them move
  • explore the forces (pushes and pulls) at work on objects when they are in the wind
  • improve student design, testing, and experimentation skills

Wind Can Generate Electricity


As many students enter 4th grade, they:

  • start to explore electricity and circuits, allowing the introduction to the idea that wind turbines can convert wind into electricity
  • can expand this understanding by connecting classroom turbines to their simple circuits.
  • can go further and start to design turbine blades that affect electricity production and try to improve their designs to produce more electricity

Literacy Exploration


Picture books and stories about wind can:

  • help students explore their own experiences with wind and then describe and write their own stories

 Most Popular Activities

Shorter Explorations

If you have 1 to 3 days and want to explore wind energy with your elementary students, here are a few of our favorites.

Making Anemometers
This is a fun way to start quantifying the wind and measuring it around the school.
Sail Cars
Use the wind to push simple cars down a track. Students construct and test simple sails to affect performance.
Wind Picture Books
This can be a rich way to explore wind power and improve literacy. If students have time, they can write their own stories or books about a wind experience.

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This is a continuation of the Blade Design Investigations.
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This is a continuation of the Blade Design Investigations.
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This is a continuation of the Blade Design Investigations.
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Blowing in the Wind Lesson Plan.pdf
Students will understand how wind is created along with its unpredictable patterns. They will understand how to observe, collect, and analyze data, and they will understand what direction the wind is coming from.
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Pinwheel assembly activity - wind can do work.pdf
Here you will find several activities for building wind tools that can be used to measure wind speed and direction and a kite to fly!
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Catch the wind crossword.pdf
This lesson provides several activities for students to explore wind vocabulary.
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Mechanical engineering involves the design of anything with moving parts. In this unit, students will think like mechanical engineers—and also use their understanding of air as wind—to design and create wind-powered machines. The storybook Leif Catches the Wind introduces students to wind turbines that generate renewable energy. Students will study how common machines such as mechanical pencils and egg beaters work, then use their mechanical engineering skills to design sailboats and windmills that catch the wind.
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Energy Roundup is a good activity to introduce an energy unit or to reinforce students' knowledge of the nation's leading sources of energy. Energy Roundup divides a large group into ten or less small groups.
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Using larger KidWind wind turbine kits Students will be able to explain how wind can do work by lifting weights. Students will be able to list factors that can affect how turbines work.
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Students will be able to list basic facts about energy and how it can be used.
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Students will be able to use observational skills to describe wind.
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Kite Flying Lesson Plan.pdf
Students will be able to properly create a bumble bee kite and will be able to accurately mark halves and whole inches on their kite paper. Students will be able to understand the effects of wind on their kites and will observe the force of wind currents and the role they play in everyday life
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MacGyver windmills.pdf
Windmills are the ancient ancestors of modern wind turbines. To understand how wind turbines work, one must first understand a basic windmill. This lesson will help students understand how a windmill captures the energy of the wind and converts it into usable mechanical energy, which is the basis for understanding modern wind turbines. Students will use the engineering design process and the scientific method to design, build, test, and improve their models.
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Make a kite out of simple materials and use it to understand where the wind is. Use the flags on the tail of the kite to understand wind speed and direction changes with height.
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You can use a wind sock to find out what direction the wind is coming from. This is very important to know when designing a wind farm.
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This is a fun way to start quantifying the wind and measuring it around the school.
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Students will be able to measure wind speed and direction using appropriate tools and units.
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Students will be able to use environmental clues to assess wind speed.
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This unit utilizes booklets from the NEED Project to teach students about wind. The lessons are broken down into the following sections:
  • Introduction to Wind - Students will be able to use observational skills to describe wind.
  • Introduction to Energy - Students will be able to list basic facts about energy and how it can be used.
  • Wind Energy Bingo - A fun way to explore energy and wind power terminology. A great way to start a wind power unit.
  • Measuring Wind (Meters and Anemometers) - Students will be able to measure wind speed and direction using appropriate tools and units.
  • Wind can do Work - Students will construct a simple windmill out of easy to find materials with the goal of seeing how many paper clips they can lift. Through this process they will be able to explain how wind can do work
  • Wind can generate Electricity - Students will be able to identify items that use or require electricity. Using a firefly (as small wind turbine) Students will be able to explain how wind can be transformed to generate electricity.
  • Introduction to Blade Investigations - Using larger KidWind wind turbine kits Students will be able to explain how wind can do work by lifting weights. Students will be able to list factors that can affect how turbines work.
  • Blade Investigations, Blade Redesign Investigations, and Blade Investigations Conclusions - These are continuations of the Blade Design Investigations.
  • Wind Reflections - This is a evaluation of the entire Wonders of Wind Unit. Includes a post test and reflective elements.
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Build a Sail Car using inexpensive materials to demonstrate how wind can be used to propel an object. Gather measurements, record changes in variables, and use simple engineering design concepts to build sails that can push the car the farthest. Serves 8-24 students (8 Sail Cars). Recommended age range between K-12th grade. Approximately 1 class period required.
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Student build a windmill to learn about how the wind can do work! Students use basic materials like paper plates and straws to construct a device that spins in the wind in order to lift weight.
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Wind Is Energy Teacher Guide for Primary Students.pdf
Here you will find a set of resources to help teachers teach about wind and to help students learn about wind.
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The Power of the Wind teaches youth to design, create, build, and test wind powered devices and explore wind as a potential energy source in your community.
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A fun way to explore energy and wind power terminology. A great way to start a wind power unit.
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This can be a rich way to explore wind power and improve literacy. If students have time, they can write their own stories or books about a wind experience. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kampkwamba (Picture Book). This is a great book for older elementary students. It documents the life of young boy in Africa who builds his own wind turbine to generate power, a very inspiring complement to more advanced wind energy activities. There is a picture book, and a student reader is available that is appropriate for middle school students.
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This is a evaluation of the entire Wonders of Wind Unit. Includes a post test and reflective elements.
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This module’s essential challenge focuses on building and optimizing wind turbines. Students engage in a series of investigations to determine how wind turbines work. After investigating the concepts of energy transformation and the speed and force of objects, students engage in a design challenge in which they build and optimize wind turbine blades to produce the greatest energy output.
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Students will construct a simple windmill out of easy to find materials with the goal of seeing how many paper clips they can lift. Through this process they will be able to explain how wind can do work
1 resource(s)

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Students will be able to identify items that use or require electricity. Using a firefly (as small wind turbine) Students will be able to explain how wind can be transformed to generate electricity.
1 resource(s)

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