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.
OEP recommends the resources from TeachEngineering.org 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.
Turbine Video Tours
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.
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.
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.