Fun with Less Kilowatts: Part 2 – Wind Energy

By Brooke Drake, October 13, 2015, Events & Fun

Welcome to our new series – Fun with Less Kilowatts. Each week, we’ll provide a different fun and educational activity for kids to teach them about energy. Each exercise is easy, entertaining, fun, and educational. We hope this series helps gets kids interested in energy so they can learn the importance of energy and how to become energy efficient.

Fun with Less Kilowatts: Part 2 – Wind Energy

Another example of kid-generated wind energy. Learn more below!

Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed learning about static electricity in Part 1! Next up, we want to talk about wind power. With this activity, we’re going to build a car out of paper and straws – and then power it just by blowing on it. This is a great way to educate your kids on clean and renewable resources.

Fun with Less Kilowatts: Part 2 – Wind Energy

We always look for experiments using simple materials.

Materials

  • 4 “Lifesavers” type candies
  • 3 straws
  • 2 paper clips
  • 1 piece of paper
  • Tape

Setting

You will need to choose a smooth surface to conduct this activity.

Fun with Less Kilowatts: Part 2 – Wind Energy

Simple, yet effective.

Directions

Make a car using the materials above. The picture above shows what my daughter designed.

  • She used the lifesavers as tires and the straws as axles by sticking a straw through each of the two “tires”.
  • I helped her undo the paper clips to connect the two rows of tires.
  • We learned when using the paper clips, not to attach them too firmly to the straws as it prevents the wheels from actually rolling.
  • Since we’re learning about wind power, we constructed a mast to use the wind for power like a sail does for a sailboat.
  • We made the mast by taping the third straw vertically down the middle of the paper leaving just a little of the straw so it could be connected to the “body” of the car.
  • We attached the mast by taping the straw to the front axle straw.

With this experiment, you have freedom to decide how you would like to build your own “car.” You can copy ours or create your own. The key is to include a mast so it can show the effects of wind power. Then once the car is put together, place it on a smooth surface and puff away!

Fun with Less Kilowatts: Part 2 – Wind Energy

Watch that wind car move!

The Science

Just like puffing air to make the car move, wind can be collected and turned into energy to make other things move too. Wind power is collected on a larger scale through methods like wind turbines to generate electricity. When wind blows, it forces the blades of wind turbines to turn, which generates energy. A single wind turbine has three huge blades that can be as long as 650 ft., which is almost as long as two football fields and spin up to 200 mph at the tip of the blades. With wind turbines that large, just think about how much energy can be generated!

Energy made from wind is considered clean energy because it’s energy that is made from a renewable resource. A renewable resource is a resource that can naturally replenish itself . Wind is a great example of a renewable resource since its a constant resource and is considered clean because the energy that comes from it is does not emit any pollution.

To take the topic further, ask your child if he can think of anything else that uses wind to move. Sail boats are a great start, but what about other objects propelled by air? Share your ideas in the comments!

Interesting Fact

Windmills have been used to generate power for a long time now, dating back to 200 BCE.

Stay tuned for future installments for fun with batteries and solar energy!

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