Two recent STEM ‘Wonder’ Afternoons saw all the children in Form 2 working collaboratively on an engineering challenge to design and construct wind turbines to lift an object at the same time. The children worked in groups, modifying their turbines as they tested the efficiency of their designs.
The session started with the children discussing the science behind wind power. They learned how windmills work, with the wind flowing over the aerofoil-shaped blades causing lift, like the effect of air flow across aircraft wings. The studied how the design of the turbine and the shape of the blades allow this lift force to turn the blades which power the drive shaft connected to a generator to produce electricity.
The children had the chance to examine and test all of the materials at their disposal before selecting their own. They then worked on their designs, with each group deciding how many sails to have, how big to make the hub, the shape of the blades and other variables which would affect the efficiency of their model. Accurate measuring was reinforced during the construction of the turbines. Head of DT, Miss Laura Kohler, explained, “In addition to a clear emphasis on engineering concepts, the children were encouraged to problem-solve together in order to adapt any inaccuracies. It was a wonderful introduction to pure engineering at such a young age.”