Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What's Going on in the Lab? It's the Wind-Powered Series!

Welcome to the Windy Month of March!
We recently tried a few challenges that all deal with using wind power! This was great fun in celebration of a new month, but these challenges can definitely be used any time!!
Here we go!!!

STEM Challenges all about Wind Power! Explore with wind-powered cars, boats, and windmills! Fantastic problem solving and collaboration opportunities!

First up are Wind-Powered Cars!
This was somewhat more challenging than you would think!
STEM Challenge: Just in time for the windy month of March is a series of STEM events including this one about making a car powered by the wind!
Kids really had to work hard to make the axles and wheels work. They had to turn and catch the wind- from a fan!

STEM Challenge: Just in time for the windy month of March is a series of STEM events including this one about making a car powered by the wind!
Once their cars were working they decided to decorate them. We had race cars, a car driven by Mr. Mustache Man (he's in one of the photos above), the Pirate Clipper, the Fuzzy Lemons, and so many more.
STEM Challenge: Just in time for the windy month of March is a series of STEM events including this one about making a car powered by the wind!
Wind-Powered cars! One of the things the kids had to record on their lab sheets was why on earth you would ever need a car powered by the wind.
My favorite answer was, "Maybe you had no more credit on your debit card to buy gas!" 

Next, we tried wind-powered boats!
Now, I know what you are thinking.....isn't that a sail boat?
Well, yeah....
STEM Challenge: Students experiment with different kinds of sails and then build the ultimate sail for racing an unsinkable boat!
But, here's the thing. I have tried sail boats with kids and we learned a lot and they loved it. But, the focus of that sail boat task was building the boat and the sail. Many of our boats did not float very well and that made the sail not work. So, with this challenge I gave the kids an unsinkable material for the body of their boats.......
A POOL NOODLE!
STEM Challenge: Students experiment with different kinds of sails and then build the ultimate sail for racing an unsinkable boat!
That made the task all about creating the best sail! They had to test different shapes and sizes and then use their testing data to build the final sail.
STEM Challenge: Students experiment with different kinds of sails and then build the ultimate sail for racing an unsinkable boat!
My favorite sail they made was called the Human Sail. It looked like a scarecrow.

Finally, fifth graders tried Windmills!
Holy WOW! This was so much harder than we thought it would be!
STEM Challenge: A fan-tastic STEM task that uses wind power! Students build a windmill using their choice of a center wheel and blades they design! Will the wheel turn?
I gave them a choice of lots of different round things to be the center wheel of the windmill and then they had to make the blades. Guess what, flat blades don't work!
STEM Challenge: A fan-tastic STEM task that uses wind power! Students build a windmill using their choice of a center wheel and blades they design! Will the wheel turn?
This one worked the best of all of them and it was super cute! The blades were just the right size and bent in just the right way!
STEM Challenge: A fan-tastic STEM task that uses wind power! Students build a windmill using their choice of a center wheel and blades they design! Will the wheel turn?
This one got the prize for being the most color coordinated and it also worked well!

Here's a great little movie I made to show some of these challenges in action:

That was our latest from a seasonal series of challenges I am working on!
January was the Snow Series
February was the Heart Series
March is the Wind Series

Meet me back here next Wednesday for more of:
Coming Soon:
Mystery Builds
Pipelines
Cargo Drops

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