Greeneview High School
News Release
September, 2011

Science Students Design Windmills

Theresa Hoyle and Mark Matt work together to team-teach several Science classes at Greeneview High School. GHS building goals for 2011-2012 school year state that we want to incorporate writing in all content areas and we want to assign higher level thinking assignments. Educational research has shown that student learning is further developed with project-based assignments and when students are asked to respond with analytical writing. This team of teachers has been working to create some project-based assignments and the student found a recent assignment particularly exciting.

Most students in this small agricultural community have seen windmills on farms but most knew very little about the renewable resource and the latest technology developments in this field of science. Windmills have been around for a very long time but the technology is changing to adapt to our need for electrical energy. Like many of the plain states in our country, Ohio is developing many new wind farms. Several of the students were able to make the connection to the learning because a recent family vacation had them driving through the large wind farm project in Northwest Ohio.

The project tasked the students to test different variables to determine how best to build a windmill in order to generate electrical energy. They created fan blades, using the material of their choice, and then attached them to a cork. This manufactured windmill was then connected to a voltmeter to measure the electrical output. The project then called for them to make modifications and create two other blade designs to find the most efficient model. The students were asked to change the distance and direction of the wind source to see how that might affect electrical output. The final step was to analyze their designs and the affect that wind speed and direction had on the electrical output and then write up their conclusions. Students loved the hands-on nature of this learning opportunity and they were able to deepen their understanding of windmills.