Get wild about wind! MacGyver is a hands-on study of wind energy that encourages grade 3-6 students to design their very own wind turbine. Using the engineering design process, students will work in small groups to design a turbine that can lift a cup of pennies, learning all about this renewable energy source along the way. Read on to learn more about the benefits of this classroom program. 

Classroom Benefits

  • Comprehensive curriculum, materials, and ongoing support – all at no charge.
  • Essential resources, including lesson plans, activities, and lab materials that engage and excite students.
  • Stipends for teachers upon completion of program requirements. 

How it Works

  • Follow the link below to register for this 2022-23 school year. Teachers will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis. 
  • Upon completion of your online training (video will be emailed to you), OEP will mail all curriculum and supplies directly to your school at no cost. 
  • Upon receiving your kit, we welcome you to implement MacGyver as you see fit–with your whole class, energy team, or science club–during the 2022-23 school year.
    • OEP recommends implementing the program with a group size of 2 students across 2-5 class periods (time will be variable depending on grade and course). 
  • After finishing the program, you will need to complete a post-program teacher evaluation, complete with project photos, documenting how you used the resources in the classroom.
  • Upon completion of the above requirements, a stipend will be sent. 

MacGyver Classroom Resources

OEP recommends the resources from for introducing the design process.  

The Elementary Student Worksheet does not include any calculations.

The Intermediate Student Worksheet includes a calculation for speed. Student will need to measure the length of the string and record the time required to lift the pennies. 

Penny Power is a math extension activity. Students will calculate the power of their wind lift. 

How-To Videos


Turbine Video Tours


Additional Videos

To receive a teacher stipend, you will need to complete the teacher evaluation. The evaluation requires photo documentation. You can choose how you do this; either submit a single project or a compilation of projects. If your students do not have a signed school release, do not include them in the picture/video.

Optional Opportunities:

  1. Students can submit their projects to the KidWind Portal. Share your projects with other schools…and see what other schools are doing. This year there is no limit on the number of projects you can enter. View the MacGyver online project portal. 



Primary Resources


Elementary Resources


Intermediate Resources


These documents can also be downloaded at no-cost as PDF’s at

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, is the true story of William Kamkwamba. William was 14 when he was forced to drop out of school because his family was unable to pay his tuition. Using his own ingenuity, a book from the library and scrap materials, he built a wind turbine to provide light to his family’s home. 


Elementary Resources: 


Intermediate/Secondary Resources:

MacGyver is a fictional TV character with an extraordinary knack for unconventional problem solving and an extensive bank of scientific knowledge. He would improvise to solve a problem with whatever items he might have in his pockets. MacGyver has become a common term in pop culture and means “to make or repair something in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand.” That is what you will be doing, designing a wind turbine to lift as many pennies as possible using materials from your classroom, home or recycling container.