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Fifth Graders Design, Build, and Test Wind Turbines

Do wind turbines with cardboard or ones with paper blades generate energy more efficiently? Does the number of blades have an impact on the amount of energy produced?

Our fifth graders are answering these and other questions, as they wear the hats of both scientist and engineer on a wind turbine project. 

Applying what they have learned in science about energy transformation, mechanical advantage, and simple and compound machines, the boys are using the scientific method to conduct their own controlled experiment, testing how changing one variable in their blade design (such as the number, material used, or shape) affects the amount of electricity generated.

They will also work as engineers, analyzing their data to then inform design and construction of the most efficient wind turbine.

The wind turbine unit is exciting for the boys, who love to build something that they can see actually works. They also collaborate to solve a problem they find relevant, and benefit from having to make several tests before meeting with success.

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