Fifth graders create wind turbines

In science class, fifth graders are enthusiastically engaged in a new STEM project that is part of their unit on electricity and alternate energy forms. As part of the unit, they read the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, about a boy who solved his problems by building a wind turbine to bring water to his family's drought-ridden farm. After researching different types of wind turbines over time and how they work, students were presented with a design challenge to engineer their own wind turbine. They were given design constraints, such as materials, size, and function (blades needed to rotate, and the turbine couldn't tip over). Working in pairs, students could choose between 3 and 5 blades and had creative freedom to design it how they wanted. After completing the design challenge, the next challenge was to figure out how to motorize their wind turbine.  Students received two batteries and a small motor and figured out how to power the turbine through trial and error.