Wind for Schools Portal/9-12 Curricula

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Wind for Schools Curricula: High School 9 - 12

Getting Started


As students enter high school, we can start to address more complicated concepts with wind characteristics and generating electricity from wind power. Additionally, these concepts can be addressed in different classes like physics, engineering, biology, and environmental and earth sciences.

Expand Your Understanding

 Concepts and Standards

Physics, Environmental Studies


General Energy Concepts and Where Does Wind Fit?

  • How do we generate electricity?
  • What are the consequences of electricity generation?
  • How do we measure energy and power?
  • How can electricity generated by wind impact climate change?
  • What is wind power’s potential?

Physics, Earth Science


What Is Wind?

  • How do we measure wind?
  • What causes the wind?
  • Where is it windy?
  • Why does the wind matter?

Physics, Engineering, STEM


Turbine Design and Function

  • What are the major parts of a turbine?
  • How do these parts work together on a functional turbine or windmill?
  • Let’s construct and test your own turbines.

Biology & Environmental Science


Siting and Impacts of Wind Power

  • What criteria are used to site wind farms?
  • How do wind turbines and wind farms impact people and wildlife?

 Most Popular Activities

Shorter Explorations

If you have 1 to 3 days and want to explore wind energy, here are the most popular lessons that we use with students.

MacGyver Wind
Using identical bags of “junk,” students construct windmills that are designed to lift weights.
Turbine Blade Design
Students explore blade design, power output, and optimization on model turbines. A variety of lessons from NEED, KidWind & Vernier explore this.
Energy Assessments of Classrooms
Students explore power consumption and then select turbines that could power their classroom. (A variety of lessons from NEED and KidWind address these ideas).
Siting Wind Farms
Using analytical skills and a variety of data, students must find the best location for a wind farm and explore impacts to wildlife and stakeholders. (A variety of lessons from NEED and KidWind address these ideas).

 Explore Materials

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At the end of this lab:
  • Students will be able to understand density is a physical property of something.
  • Students will be able to understand that air density changes because of pressure and temperature.
  • Students will use appropriate technology and mathematics to make investigations.
  • Students will be able to compare their calculated air density with the constant (1.225 kg/m³) in the wind turbine Power equation.
  • Students will use volume to find density of certain objects.
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Students observe birds around their school. They use transects to conduct field work to assess whether birds are being impacted by turbines or other human made structures.
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Using a game students explore the challenges of managing the electrical grid. Explores concepts such as baseload and peak demand and how we use a mix of sources to meet generation challenges.
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  • Day #1: Why Wind Power? (WindWise Unit #1 or NEED Intro Readings, NEED Activities – Exploring Wind Guide)
  • Day #2/3: Life Cycle Impacts of Power Generation (WindWise Lesson # 12: How Does Wind Energy Affect Wildlife?)
  • Day #4/5: Impacts of Wind Turbines on Birds and Bats (WindWise Lesson # 13: How Does Wind Impact Birds? and WindWise Lesson #14: How Does Wind Affect Bats?)
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Students explore concepts of lift, drag and torque as the relate to wind turbine blades.
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Students combine their knowledge from Wind Blade Investigations and Blade Aerodynamics during a competition to see what team can produce the most powerful turbine.
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Over time, engineers have experimented with many different shapes, designs, materials, and numbers of blades to find what works best. In this experiment, you will explore the optimal blade design to maximize power output.
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In this project, you will design a wind farm, a collection of wind turbines grouped together to create a single wind power plant. The wind farm you design will provide electricity to one or more KidWind Small Water Pumps with the goal of moving as much water as you can, as high as possible
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CPO Science makes it easy to bring real-world engineering and STEM to your classroom. With the Wind Turbine, students explore concepts in engineering design, energy transformation, electromagnetism, and forces. Students will design, test, and refine a working turbine and challenge each other to see which model can generate the highest voltage with this unique equipment module
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After completing "Which blades are best?" lesson students will use a variety of materials to design blades that optimize the power output of a model wind turbine."
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Students will estimate classroom power consumption and then will examine wind energy data to understand the relationship between wind speed and turbine power output. Using these data they can explore the feasibility of powering their classroom or school with a wind turbine.
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Over time student collect wind data and use that to predict power output from a small wind turbine.
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Students will be able to compare and contrast small wind turbine models.
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Students apply the concepts of power and energy in order to test three different types of light bulbs with a Kill A Watt Meter. They then apply these concepts to a variety of loads and explore efficiency.
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  • Day #1: Why Wind Power? (WindWise Unit #1 or NEED Intro Readings - NEED Activities – Exploring Wind Guide)
  • Day #2/3: Measuring Wind, Understanding Wind, Where Is It Windy? (NEED Wind for School Lesson and WindWise Unit #2)
  • Day #4/5: Siting a Wind Turbine at School, Windy (NEED Wind for School Lesson )
  • Extensions
      • Offshore Wind (Wind Wise Lesson #17)
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you will measure the power output of a wind turbine and determine the relationship between optimal resistance and internal resistance. You will do this by operating the turbine under load, which means you will hook up a device with a specific electrical resistance to the turbine output.
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Students explore power consumption and then select turbines that could power their classroom. (A variety of lessons from NEED and KidWind address these ideas).
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How does geography dictate the type of power plants that can be developed.
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Students determine the energy requirements and calculate the cost of using several electrical appliances. Students explore wind systems capable of powering different loads.
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In this experiment, you will explore variables that affect how a turbine turns. You will then investigate the effect of fan speed on the power output of a wind turbine.
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Here you will find resources for helping teachers and students teach and learn about wind.
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Students explore forms of energy, sources of energy, and energy transformations through a demonstration, PowerPoint presentation, class discussion, readingpassage and worksheets.
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Students will use a “Spec Sheet” to learn the basic characteristics of the Skystream 3.7 turbine used in the Wind for Schools program.
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Students read a passage and explore they history of human use of wind power.
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Students construct their own generators. If they have time, they can try to use the wind to drive these generators and produce power. All wind turbines contain generators that transform the energy of the wind into electricity. Engineers are constantly trying to improve the performance of these generators, allowing the turbines to transform more energy of the wind into electricity. This lesson explores the physics of how generators work and some variables to improve performance.
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Students will analyze media materials related to wind energy to determine which tools are used to create an image and inform opinion. Following their analyses, they will write a persuasive argument for or against wind energy.
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Students will use a limited amount of materials to design and build functioning windmill models. They will use these models to convert wind into usable mechanical energy to lift weights.
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Students will work teams and use the fact sheets and worksheets to research and compare the effects of four electricity generation sources on wildlife. They will then compare and discuss their findings with the class and be prepared to write a summary report.
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Students will work in small groups to learn about the behaviors of different bat species near a wind farm. Based on these data, students will design a dispatch schedule for a wind farm that lowers the risk of bat mortality
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Students will play the role of ornithologists studying potential impacts to birds. They will read about how birds can be impacted by wind turbines and then use the information, along with data on birds and wind farms, to determine potential risk to raptors.
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Student explore the generation and movement of electricty using hand generators, wind turbines and various electrical components.
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Students practice making observations about wind.
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Discover advanced concepts of wind turbine technology, including gearboxes and generator construction (with the GenPack add-on). Students can use the blades they design to generate electricity, lift weights, and pump water. This kit is perfect for grades 7–12 and college. All you need to add is a wind source, basic tools, and imagination!
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This kit allows young scientists to test a variety of blade designs, generate electricity (0.5 –3 V range), and lift weights. The Basic Wind Experiment Kit has all the materials you need to get started understanding wind power. Great for classrooms, as well as individual science fair projects.
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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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Using identical bags of “junk,” students construct windmills that are designed to lift weights. Explore the engineering behind blade design and windmill construction and participate in the MacGyver Windmill Challenge.
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Use common household materials to build a windmill. Explore the engineering behind blade design and windmill construction and participate in the MacGyver Windmill Challenge.
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By making and using anemometers students measure wind speed and direction and think about how that will affect wind power.
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Students will work in teams to build what they believe will be the most efficient model wind turbine in the classroom. They will calculate and measure power and tip speed ratio and design experiments to explore the variables that can affect turbine efficiency.
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In collaboration with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, renewable energy consultants AWS Truepower developed an educational package to teach the basic functionality of the siting software Openwind®, a tool used to design and assess utility-scale wind farms. The resource link leads to an FTP site; if you cannot access FTP sites, contact your IT department and then contact Openwind Support. Published in December 2017, the four lesson plans in the package are best suited for college students and guide users through increasingly complex software functionality and wind energy concepts. No previous geographic information system data knowledge is required. The package includes 19 pre-configured workbooks and a demo version of the software, limited to a single geographic region. The workbooks are intended to teach students the basics of wind farm siting and introduce elements of the landscape that affect wind flow and turbine performance. DOE provides funding support for the Wind for Schools project, and 12 Wind Application Centers located at universities participating in the program are using the lesson plans. The KidWind Project is working to develop an adaptation for middle school and high school students.
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Wind turbine aerodynamics and wind resource statistical analysis videos.
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  • Day #1: Why Wind Power?
  • Day #2/3: Energy Transformations (WindWise Lesson #1 )
  • Day #3/4: Measuring Electricity (Understanding Voltage, Current and Power)
  • Day #4/5: What is a Generator? (WindWise Lesson # 9)
    • Extensions
      • Wind Turbine Math (NEED Activity, Energy from the Wind Guide)
      • Wind Turbines and Blade Design (NEED Activity, Energy from the Wind Guide, WindWise Lessons #10 & #11)
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Students will learn to determine the amount of theoretical, mathematically calculated, power in the wind reaching a turbine and compare it to the actual production of the school turbine. Students will use the data to determine the efficiency of the school turbine. They can then use this information to discuss the positives and negatives of the school wind turbine.
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  • Day #1: Why Wind Power? (WindWise Unit #1 or NEED Intro Readings - NEED Activities – Exploring Wind Guide)
  • Day #2/3: MacGyver Windpower (REcharge Labs Activity, MacGyver Wind)
  • Day #4/5:Wind Turbines and Blade Design (NEED Activities,Exploring Wind Guide and WindWise Lessons #10 & #11 )
  • Extensions
    • Energy Transformations (WindWise Lesson #1)
    • Can Wind Power My Classroom? (WindWise Lesson # 7 and NEED Wind for School Lesson)
    • KidWind Challenge
    • WhiteBox Learning, Design a Turbine Software
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Students will be able to describe and identify different turbine designs and why they are more effective in certain areas than others.
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This unit provides background information and hands-on experiments to explore the different forms of energy and how energy is transformed from one form to another. Groups of students master six stations, then teach others about the energy transformations at their stations. The stations include equipment to teach transformations focusing on kinetic and potential energy, heat, light, motors, batteries, and electromagnetism.
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Students will be able to read a wind rose and interpret the most likely wind directions. Students will be able to analyze information about an area (map, descriptions, etc.) and select good and bad areas to site a wind turbine or wind farm.
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Using analytical skills and a variety of data, students must find the best location for a wind farm and explore impacts to wildlife and stakeholders. (A variety of lessons from NEED and KidWind address these ideas).
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Through a debate and stakeholder process students will identify the many benefits and challenges of siting a wind farm.
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Students will be able to locate the best area for their school’s (actual or fictional) wind turbine installation.
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Students work in teams to prepare a plan and submit a bid for installing a wind turbine on a residence.
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Students explore blade design, power output, and optimization on model turbines. A variety of lessons from NEED, KidWind & Vernier explore this.
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Students will be able to compare tip speeds of a SkyStream 3.7 with the rated speed of the same turbine and will be able to discover blade speeds at various lengths (intervals) from the hub to the tip.

Students will be able to create a table to show the change in speeds at the different intervals of length from the hub and will discover that maximum blade speed is at the tip. Students will verify that maximum tip speed is at full radius.

Students will be able to write and illustrate an article that describes the difference in speed at the various intervals addressed in the assignment.
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Students explore electric power generation and consider the advantages and disadvantages of different generation technologies through a demonstration, PowerPoint, class discussion, reading passage and worksheets.
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Students use a power monitor to estimate the energy used by all appliances and lights in the classroom and use the wind turbine’s power curve to determine if that demand can be met through wind energy.
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"Through observing a series of demonstrations and participating in hands-on activities, students learn about the relationship between temperature, pressure and wind speed."
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Students discuss the pros and cons of offshore wind and examine maps to choose the most and least desirable locations for offshore wind development.
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Students use a kite or large helium balloon with streamers attached at intervals along the string to visualize the effect of wind shear and turbulence. After measuring the height of the kite in the air, they estimate how high above the ground a turbine would have to be in order to be clear of turbulent winds.
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Students will calculate the costs and potential revenue of two potential wind farm sites. Using these figures, they will determine the current payback period of each site
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Students conduct a web quest to learn about energy efficiency and conservation, storage, and renewable and non-renewable forms of energy. They then create mock budgets to promote various solutions to bridge our demand for electricity with the intermittent supply of wind and solar.
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WindWise Lesson #5 has students explore wind flow on a miniature landscape they create in the classroom and wind flow patterns all over the US. Wind turbines produce more power at higher wind speeds than at lower wind speeds. This lesson helps students understand how topography and elevation affect wind speed. Students analyze maps and make predictions on where wind farms may be located based on regional topography.
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Working in small groups, students use a set of maps, tables, and reading materials to compare and contrast two potential sites for a wind farm.
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Students will use wind turbine kits to test different variables in blade design and measure the power output of each. Students will isolate one variable of wind turbine blade design, then collect and present data for that variable.
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Students identify and explore major blade variables that impact energy output on a wind turbine.
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What wind careers are associated with the wind industry.
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Student learn how to calculate wind energy and power. Calculating the energy (and later power) available in the wind relies on knowledge of basic geometry and the physics behind kinetic energy.
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Youth will role play as various stakeholders in their community to determine how they would approach the locating of a utility-scale wind farm in their community.
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Students will be able to calculate wind power using model turbines.
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Students will be able to identify the optimum wind speed for a given turbine.
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Youth will use a worksheet to determine what the actual and projected costs that would in incurred for the installation of a wind turbine at a school. A possible extension is to look a wind farms in Colorado and determine the economic costs of building and maintaining a wind farm.
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In this activity, you will build a simple generator and explore how these variables affect generator performance. Uses probes to collect data.
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Students will be able to list different variables that impact the electrical output of a wind turbine.
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In this experiment you will use a wind turbine to do the work of lifting a mass and will calculate the mechanical power (in watts) generated by the turbine as it lifts the weights.
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Students will be able to identify the possible concerns and perspectives of community members. Students will be able to identify pros and cons of a wind turbine installation.
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Over time, engineers have experimented with many different shapes, designs, materials, and numbers of blades to find which work best. In this experiment, you will explore the optimal blade design to maximize efficiency.
1 resource(s)

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Wind turbine power curves describe how much power a wind turbine can extract from the wind at a variety of different wind speeds. Students use probeware and small turbines to generate power curves.
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In this experiment, you will explore power and energy. You will learn how power and energy are related to each other. You will use this knowledge and the data-collection software to measure the power and calculate the amount of electrical energy generated by a small wind turbine.
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In this experiment students measure the area the blade projects onto the plane of rotation. Using this data calculate the solidity of the wind turbine and investigate how the turbine solidity affects power output.
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What impact will a wind farm have in a community from three different perspectives.
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