Saturday, February 17, 2018

Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (freebie)

Our fifth graders have to take the Massachusetts STE test in the spring.  It is a state test that covers grades 3-5 science, technology and engineering standards.  As part of a review, I had my classes create basic circuits using batteries, holders, wires, light bulbs and sockets.  

I wanted to bring their knowledge to the next level.  We then used the snap circuit kits to learn about more complex circuits.   My student LOVE them!!!  The projects are endless.  Please warn your students about the fragile wires on some of the pieces.  I had to order some new parts.  I am going to learn how to solder.

We read the Science A-Z book on "Setting Up Circuits."  My students needed information on resistors and transistors.  I buy the annual subscription and find it worthwhile.
The next part of the module was having my students read the book "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind."  It is a true story about a boy in Malawi who made a windmill to generate electricity and water for his village.  My students were intrigued with the story.  They had so many questions.  We watched a video about William.
We brainstormed problems in the story and narrowed down the ones that could be solved with engineering.  This lesson is based on Novel Engineering.  A project that was developed by Tufts University.  Please check out their website for ideas and challenges.
Here is our list of problems
 The students had to use electricity and teach William's village that would solve the following problems; no water, darkness and extreme heat.  The chart below are the materials that my students used.  I am a big fan of recyclables.
 One of my standards is sketching and showing related parts.  Here are two great examples.  

Here are some photos of my students and their designs.  We had many types of fans, street lights, a drill for water, and a few other original ideas.  Next term, I want to do a lesson on just propellers and fan blades.
To model how a windmill can generate electricity I bought a crank radio/flashlight from Amazon.  The students had the chance to crank it and listen to music in class.
Here is the sheet I used with my classes.  

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