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How Does Wind Energy Work? | Educational Wind Power Workbook For Kids

Want to explore wind power and learn how wind energy works with kids? Try this simple wind STEM experiment, one of many activities included in our 60+ page Wind Power Workbook For Kids.

Who doesn’t love a cool breeze on a hot summer day or the salty air blowing off the ocean waves while you sit with your toes in the sand? A soft breeze is pretty perfect on most occasions.

When that cool breeze turns into strong gusts, however, we really start to gauge the incredible power of wind. Strong winds can cause a lot of damage. But we can also harness the power of wind to generate immense amounts of clean, renewable energy using wind turbines on land and in the ocean.

In recent decades, wind turbine technology advancements have made wind power much more affordable and efficient. According to Drawdown, wind power is the single most cost and energy-efficient source of clean power to which we can turn in a warming world.

Wind power isn’t without its drawbacks, like any source of energy. But among its competitors, it’s an incredibly promising climate solution. To help young learners (and their adult teachers) learn more about the history, science, and promise of wind energy, we’ve created a workbook of over 60 pages of STEM projects, English language arts activities, history and geography lessons, and more to engage learners from elementary through high school in the study of wind power.

What’s included in the Wind Power Workbook?

Specifically, you’ll find the following lessons in our Wind Power Workbook:

  • Who Has Seen the Wind? | A poem to start a conversation about wind in our lives.
  • What is Wind? | A STEM experiment you can do in your kitchen with materials you probably already have on hand to learn more about how wind is generated and how it moves through our atmosphere and around the Earth.
  • The Vocabulary of Wind | Fill in the blanks to learn more about vocabulary words related to wind energy.
  • Historical Use of Wind Power | Read and learn, with a sorting activity to reinforce concepts.
  • Wind Turbines | Compare and contrast different types of machines that convert wind to energy, and learn more about the parts of a wind turbine and how they work.
  • Building a Wind Turbine: A STEM Investigation
  • Geography of Wind Farms | Where in the world do we find wind farms and why are they located in certain areas?
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of Wind Farms
  • Reading Comprehension | Children’s books about wind energy and related comprehension questions.
  • The Future of Wind Energy | Research and write about the future of wind energy.
  • Reading Extensions & Additional Resources/Adult Supplements

To give you a sneak peek of what you’ll get in the Wind Power Workbook, we’ve shared below the introductory STEM activity about how wind is created and how it moves around the Earth. Try it out. Tell us what you think. You can find us at @RaisingGlobalKidizens on Instagram or email us at [email protected] and let us know how it goes.

If you enjoy the activity, be sure to grab the full workbook for lots more related activities and a full educational unit all about wind energy and its place in the future of our energy mix in the United States and around the world.

What is Wind? | Demonstrating the Rise and Fall of Air STEM Experiment For Kids

We have all felt a breeze on our skin or watched trees dance in the wind. But what causes wind, and how does its intensity change from one day to the next?

Air in motion, which we commonly refer to as wind, is created by the sun’s uneven heating of the Earth. Air is made up of a variety of gases. The most common gas molecules found in the air are nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), and argon (Ar).

When air warms, the air molecules gain energy, move farther apart from one another, and the air expands. As the air expands, it becomes less dense and rises. When air cools, the gas molecules lose energy and move closer to one another. This condensation of air causes it to become denser and sink.

Materials Needed For Wind Energy STEM Experiment For Kids

  • Pot of hot water
  • Container of ice water
  • Small neck glass bottle (salad dressing bottles work well)
  • Regular sized latex or similar material balloon
  • Tape (optional)

Note: Adult supervision is advised for this experiment.

Instructions For Wind Energy STEM Experiment For Kids

  1. Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water, and heat it until boiling.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat source.
  3. Fill a second container with icy water and set it near the hot water pot.
  4. Remove the cap from an empty, small-necked glass bottle.
  5. Add a small amount of air into the balloon, just enough to fill the round portion of the balloon without stretching the balloon material.
  6. Stretch the opening of the balloon over the empty glass bottle, keeping the round portion of the balloon floppy and folded over to prevent air from escaping. If necessary, secure the opening of the balloon to the bottle with a piece of tape. (We’ve included more detailed photographs in our workbook to demonstrate this set up.)
  7. Place the bottle into the pot of hot water, being cautious not to touch the hot water with your hand.
  8. Wait 2-3 minutes and observe what happens to the balloon.
  9. Carefully remove the bottle from the hot water and immediately place it into the container of ice water.
  10. Wait 1-2 minutes and observe what happens to the balloon.
  11. Repeat steps 7-10 once more to verify your results.

Questions To Supplement Wind Energy STEM Experiment for Kids

Consider the following questions to make conclusions about how wind works based on the results of this simple yet effective STEM activity.

  1. What happened to the air in the balloon when the bottle was placed in hot water?
  2. What happened to the air in the balloon when the bottle was placed in ice water?
  3. How does temperature affect air?

Want to learn more about how wind energy works? Check out our educational Wind Power Workbook, available in our shop!

How Wind Works STEM Experiment For Kids

How Wind Works STEM Experiment For Kids

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Materials

  • Pot of hot water
  • Container of ice water
  • Regular sized latex or similar material balloon

Tools

  • Small neck glass bottle (salad dressing bottles work well)
  • Tape (optional)

Instructions

  1. Fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water, and heat it until boiling.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat source.
  3. Fill a second container with icy water and set it near the hot water pot.
  4. Remove the cap from an empty, small-necked glass bottle.
  5. Add a small amount of air into the balloon, just enough to fill the round portion of the balloon without stretching the balloon material.
  6. Stretch the opening of the balloon over the empty glass bottle, keeping the round portion of the balloon floppy and folded over to prevent air from escaping. If necessary, secure the opening of the balloon to the bottle with a piece of tape. (We've included more detailed photographs in our workbook to demonstrate this set up.)
  7. Place the bottle into the pot of hot water, being cautious not to touch the hot water with your hand.
  8. Wait 2-3 minutes and observe what happens to the balloon.
  9. Carefully remove the bottle from the hot water and immediately place it into the container of ice water.
  10. Wait 1-2 minutes and observe what happens to the balloon.
  11. Repeat steps 7-10 once more to verify your results.

Notes

Adult supervision is recommended for this activity.

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