How can we transfer energy stored in the wind into something useful?

Re:Volt is a Year 7 expedition which ran between March and April 2017

The learning targets were :

  • I can describe the different stores of energy that exist in our universe
  • I can identify the different stores of energy found in a system
  • I can use algebra to solve energy and mathematical story problems
  • I can work out the volume of a range of 3D shapes
  • I can design a system that changes wind energy into something useful

The immersion for this learning expedition was an experiment where students examined the relationship between the extension of an elastic band and the distance travelled after firing. They looked at dependent, independent and control variables and how to make it a fair test.

Students also read a text extract about a boy called William Kamkwamba called “The boy who harnessed the wind”. In it, William describes how his curiosity about dynamos led to him making his own wind turbine for his home in Malawi.

They then thought more carefully about what was happening when they fired the band during the immersion, and how energy that was first stored in their arm was transferred to the elastic band. Students learned about the different ways that energy can be stored or transferred and found out that energy cannot be created or destroyed. They created Sankey diagrams to show how energy is conserved, using arrows that were in proportion with the amount of energy they represented.

Students grappled with algebra a lot in this expedition and did lots of practice with story problems, thinking about how they use language when talking about maths and how this can be expressed as algebraic expressions and equations. They also worked on the surface areas and volumes of irregular shapes and learned how to calculate the area and volume of their turbine blades.

This was all vital to the final challenge where students had to design blades for a wind turbine, working out the best design by doing lots of fair tests. They also had to build circuits that would transfer the energy stored first in the wind into something useful, light. This culminated in a competition to see which team could get the most power out of their turbine.

All resources relating to this expedition can be found below:

Expedition Posts

Final Product – Wind Turbine Blade Lab Testing

In 2014/15 and 2015/16 C21 and C22 completed the same expedition with the final products below:

C21 Re:Volt

Final Product – Wind Turbine in action

C22 Re:Volt

Final Product – Blade Designs