When you're teaching kids about electricity, you cover the various forms of power plants: coal plants, nuclear plants, hydro-electrical plants and wind turbines or generators. While you can't build your own coal plant or nuclear plant in the classroom, you can build a wind generator to teach children how wind can be converted into energy. While the process is rather simple, this project should only be done by a teacher because it does use electricity, however minimal.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Electric motor
- Elastic band
- 2 wires
- Insulated alligator clip
- Voltage meter
- Paper clips
Attach an electric motor to the top of a ruler. The shaft of the electric motor should be pointing out from the top. Wrap an elastic band around this combination to secure the electric motor to the ruler.
Attach the wires to the outlet of the electric motor.
Use insulated alligator clips to attach the other ends of the wires to the voltage meter.
Straighten four paper clips, leaving only the inner hook. Use scissors to cut the paper clip until 1/2 inch of paper clip protrudes past the hook.
Cut four pieces of cardboard into 1-inch-by-10 inch-rectangles. These four pieces will serve as the blades of your wind turbine.
Use a piece of tape to attach individual paper clips to one end of each cardboard blade, so that the inner hook part is taped to the base of the blade with the 1/2-inch stub of the paper clip sticking out.
Push the 1/2-inch stub of the paper clip into the cork. Do this for each blade. After you're finished, you should have four blades of cardboard surrounding a cork.
Insert the shaft of your electric motor into the centre of the cork, with the blades facing out.
Twist the cardboard blades of your wind turbine so that they're at a 45-degree angle from the ruler. This will allow them to turn when air hits them, rather than just being pushed upon.
Set a fan in front of your wind turbine and turn it on. The fan will turn the blades, the blades will power the engine, and the engine will provide a reading on the voltage meter to show how much power the wind turbine is creating.
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