An Exploration of Wind Energy & Wind Turbines

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Wind Energy


This unit, which includes both a pre and post test on wind power engages students by allowing them to explore connections between wind energy and other forms of energy. Students learn about and examine the overall design of a wind turbine and then move forward with an assessment of the energy output as factors involving wind speed, direction and blade design are altered. Students are directed to work in teams to design, test and analyze components of a wind turbine such as blade length, blade shape, height of turbine, etc Student worksheets are included to facilitate the design and analysis process. Learning Goals: Below are the learning targets for the wind energy unit.

  • I can explain how wind is produced and what makes for a good wind energy site.
  • I can explain why electricity generated from wind is a "good" source of energy.
  • I can identify the major components of a wind turbine.
  • I can list several of the design factors that produce efficient wind turbines
  • I can describe at least one occupation associated with wind turbines and know what education is required for this position.
  • I use sound experimental design practices while performing my investigation.


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Secondary Content Standard B: PHYSICAL SCIENCE

  • Structure of Atoms
    1. Matter is made of minute particles called atoms, which are composed of even smaller components. These components have measurable properties, such as mass and electrical charge.
    2. Each atom has a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. The electrical force between the nucleus and the electrons hold the atoms together.
    3. The Atom’s nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons, which are much more massive than electrons. When an element has atoms that fifer in the number of neutrons, these atoms are called isotopes of an element.
  • Motions and Forces
    1. The electrical force is a universal force that exists between two charge objects.

Secondary Content Standard D: EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE

  • Energy in Earth System
    1. Earth systems have internal and external sources of energy, both of which create heat. The sun is the major external source of energy. Two primary sources of internal energy are the decay of radioactive isotopes and the gravitational energy from the earth's original formation.
    2. Heating of earth's surface and atmosphere by the sun drive convection within the atmospheres and oceans, producing winds and ocean currents.
    3. Global climate is determined by energy transfer from the sun at and near the earth's surface.

Secondary Content Standard E: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Abilities of Technological Design
    1. Identify a problem or design an opportunity.
    2. Propose designs and choose between alternative solutions.
    3. Implement a proposed solution
    4. Evaluate the solution and its consequence
    5. Communicate the problem, process, and solution


  • Natural Resources
    1. Human populations use resources in the environment to maintain and improve their existence.
    2. The earth does not have infinite resources; increasing human consumption places severe stress on the natural processes that renew some resources, and depletes those resources that cannot be renewed.
  • Natural and Human-Induced Hazards
    1. Natural and Human-Induced Hazards present the need for humans to assess potential danger and risk. Many changes in the environment designed by humans bring benefits to society, as well as cause risk. Students should understand the costs and trade-offs of various hazards – ranging from those with minor risk to a few people to major catastrophes with major risk to many people.
  • Science and Technology in Local, National and Global Challenges
    1. Science and technology can indicate what can happen, not what should happen. The latter involves human decisions about the use of knowledge
    2. Understanding basic concepts and principles of science and technology should precede active debate about the economics, policies, politics, and ethics of various science and technology related challenges. However, understanding science alone will not resolve local, national and global challenges.
    3. Individuals and society must decide on proposals involving new research and the introduction of new technologies into society.


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