Wind for Schools Portal/9-12 Curricula

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Wind for Schools Curricula: High School 9 - 12

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.

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Getting Started:

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 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?

 Learning Pathways

Expand your Understanding

If you have time, you can explore these resources to help you better understand wind energy before you start working with your students. Some of these resources may be appropriate to share with middle school students.

Exploring Climate Change & Introductory Student Readings

Clean Net
NEED Intermediate Wind Guide


PBS Video, Wind Power
Department of Energy, Wind 101
Student Energy Wind
Switch Energy Project
History Channel, Modern Marvels-Renewable Energy
BrainPOP, Wind Episode


American Wind Energy Association
Department of Energy, Wind
NREL, Learning About Wind
National Geographic, Wind Power
Union of Concerned Scientists, Wind Power

Books/Articles on Wind Energy Concepts

Wind Energy for Dummies by Ian Woofenden
Wind Energy Basics
Home Power Magazine

Introductory Lessons on Power & Energy

WindWise Lesson #2
Wind Energy Bingo

 Explore Materials

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Air Density Lab.pdf
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.
    1 resource(s)

  • 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?)
    5 resource(s)

  • 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)
        5 resource(s)

Exploring Wind Student Guide.pdf
Here you will find resources for helping teachers and students teach and learn about wind.
2 resource(s)

Students will use a “Spec Sheet” to learn the basic characteristics of the Skystream 3.7 turbine used in the Wind for Schools program.
1 resource(s)

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!
1 resource(s)

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.
1 resource(s)

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.
4 resource(s)

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.
4 resource(s)

  • 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)
        4 resource(s)

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.
3 resource(s)

  • 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
      9 resource(s)

Tip Speed Lesson Plan.pdf
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.
5 resource(s)

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.
3 resource(s)

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.
1 resource(s)

Oklahoma Wind Power Initiative Lesson1 windenergycalc.pdf
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.
1 resource(s)

Wind-farm-policy-simulation lp.pdf
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.
1 resource(s)

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.
3 resource(s)

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