Comprehensive wind energy activities for middle and high schoolers
WindWise Education is our comprehensive curriculum exploring the dynamic field of wind energy and gives teachers the tools to teach 6th–12th grade students about this timely and critical energy resource. It is an advanced, interdisciplinary wind energy curriculum that can be incorporated into a wide range of subjects.
WindWise is broken into 5 main conceptual areas - Energy, Wind, Turbines, Wildlife & Siting. Each unit includes a variety of lesson plans, handouts, support and background materials. While the lessons are not designed to be done in any particular order we do offer you some recommend pathways depending on your subject expertise and the time you want to spend teaching about wind energy.
This was last updated in 2015.
WindWise IntroBasic introduction to wind energy.
KidWind ChallengeHow to use WindWise to prepare for a KidWind Challenge.
Lesson #1 – Understanding Forms and Sources of EnergyStudents learn the difference between forms and sources of energy and that energy is useful to us because of its ability to change form.
Lesson #2 – Understanding electric power generationStudents learn about the environmental, economic and social trade-offs of electrical power generation technologies.
Lesson #3 – What is the cost of inefficiency?Students learn about work, energy and power and that using electrical appliances and devices has economic and environmental costs.
Lesson #4 – What causes the wind?Students learn about the forces that cause wind and how to measure these changes in the atmosphere.
Lesson #5 – Where is it windy?Students learn how topography and elevation affect wind speeds and will identify optimal locations for wind farms based on wind speed.
Lesson #6 – What are wind shear and turbulence?This activity helps students understand the concepts of wind turbulence and wind shear—or the smoothness and speed of the wind at different altitudes above the ground.
Lesson #7 – Can wind power your classroom?Students conduct a simple energy audit for the classroom and estimate what size wind turbine could power their classroom under local wind conditions.
Lesson #8 – How does a windmill work?Students learn the fundamental parts of a windmill, how different rotor designs affect performance, and how energy is transferred from wind into usable mechanical energy.
Lesson #9 – How does a generator work?Students learn how electricity is generated and how design variables affect electricity production.
Lesson #10 – Which blades are best?Students learn through experimentation how different blade designs are more efficient at harnessing the energy of the wind.
Lesson #11 – How can I design better blades?Students learn how to design and construct different turbine blades to maximize the power output of a wind turbine.
Lesson #12 – How does energy affect wildlife?Students learn that different electricity generation sources have very different effects on wildlife.
Lesson #13 – What is wind power's risk to birds?Learn how bird behavior and ecology are related to avian impacts from wind turbines and how scientists study these impacts.
Lesson #14 – Can we reduce risks to bats?Students analyze bat behaviors and propose a wind farm operational plan that could reduce the risk of bat mortality.
Lesson #15 – Are birds impacted by small wind turbines?Students will conduct field studies to learn how biologists study wind turbine impacts on birds. Data collected will be shared as part of a citizen science project.
Lesson #16 – How do people feel about wind?Students explore what effects media can have on people’s perception of wind energy.
Lesson #17 – What factors influence offshore wind?Students explore offshore wind development— comparing maps that illustrate different siting considerations and using scale models to understand the visual impact of an offshore wind farm.
Lesson #18 – Where do you put a windfarm?Students learn how to analyze data (maps, tables, and written information) to compare and contrast two potential sites for a wind farm.
Lesson #19 – When is a wind farm a good investment?Students learn what factors impact the economics of a wind farm and compare and contrast two potential sites.
Full WindWise Curriculum19 WindWise Lessons in one PDF