Showing posts with label Wind Energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wind Energy. Show all posts

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wind and Solar Power Estimation Tools

My post earlier today about using Google Earth to estimate potential solar energy in California reminded me of a similar resource that I discovered a couple of years ago. The following is an updated version of a post from 2009.

SEREF, the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation, has built a couple of tools that could be of interest to science teachers. SEREF has an energy estimation tool that allows you to estimate the potential solar and wind energy of any location. To use the estimation tool you have to enter your location using on the map and input the size of the solar panels or wind turbine structure. You can also draw out the dimensions of your solar panels on the map. The potential energy is then calculated based on climate, latitude, and typical weather patterns. 

Applications for Education 
The SEREF energy estimator offers teachers and opportunity to create a lesson using science, mathematics, and geography concepts. Students can use the estimation tool to discover the solar and wind energy potential of their location then make and test a hypothesis about other locations. Students can also experiment with the size of solar panels and the angle to the sun to see what the potential change in energy would be.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Design a Wind Turbine

National Geographic has a neat little interactive activity designed to help people understand how wind turbines generate power. Harness the Power of Wind walks viewers through the basics of wind turbine design. After reviewing the design principles you can design and "test" your wind turbine's efficiency. You can adjust the height of your wind turbine, the wind speed, the altitude, and the blade radius.

Applications for Education
Harness the Power of Wind could be used for teaching a lesson on wind power that incorporates basic physics and mathematics concepts.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TED Talk - Kites Tap Wind Energy

I watched this short TED Talk twice today because I was intrigued by ideas for using wind energy as presented by Saul Griffith. The video does a nice job of presenting ideas for using wind energy. The first half of the talk is probably more accessible to middle school and high school students than is the second half of the talk. The kite-powered hydrafoil might inspire some neat science fair experiments. The talk is less than six minutes so it won't take much time to show in classroom.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Games, Projects, and Lesson Plans About Energy

Energy Kids is a website produced by the US Energy Information Administration for the purpose of educating students about energy and its many forms. Energy Kids provides a wealth of easily accessible information about energy which students can use to play games, solve riddles, and take quizzes about energy. Some of the games students will find include Energy Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and riddles. Energy Kids also provides students of all ages with ideas and outlines for science fair projects around the energy theme. The science fair projects are available as free PDF downloads.

Applications for Education
For teachers, Energy Kids offers dozens of free lesson plans that can be downloaded as PDFs. The lesson plans are arranged by grade level. Teachers will also find a wealth of links to other sites containing resources for teaching lessons about energy.
If your students are looking for science fair project ideas, Energy Kids offers them a good selection of project ideas. Students needing to convert units of energy from one measurement to another, should find the Energy Kids energy calculator to be handy.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
A Crash Course in Wind Energy
Exploring Alternative Energy Sources
Coal Mining Practices Outlined in Google Earth

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Moving Windmills - An Inspiring Story of Ingenuity

I came across this video through the TED Blog today and was totally impressed and amazed by the story of William Kamkwamba. As a 14 years-old boy in Malawi, William Kamkwamba built a windmill using the information he found in a book and miscellaneous parts that he was able to scrounge together. This is a great story of what can be accomplished with a little knowledge and ingenuity. Kamkwamba's talk (embedded below) is well worth six minutes of your time.


After you watch Kamkwamba's TED Talk you may also want to visit his website and watch the preview of the documentary of his story.

Kamkwamba's biography is also available from Amazon. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Quick Overview of Geothermal Energy

The New York Times has an audio slideshow that provides a brief overview of geothermal energy. The audio slideshow is the accompaniment to an article about the dangers of drilling deep into the Earth. The slideshow provides an explanation of why the western United States is one of the easier places to access geothermal energy. The slideshow offers good visual aids depicting how geothermal energy is harnessed.














Applications for Education
This audio slideshow could be useful for science teachers to use as an introduction to geothermal energy. The slideshow could also be the beginning of a student brainstorming session in which they list all of the forms of alternative energies with which they are familiar.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
A Crash Course in Wind Energy
Exploring Alternative Energy Sources
Coal Mining Practices Outlined in Google Earth

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Crash Course in Wind Energy

The Danish Wind Industry Association has a good website for students to explore and learn about wind energy. A Crash Course in Wind Energy gives students the opportunity to see how wind energy is harnessed. In the course students will see how a wind turbine is built, learn what the parts of a wind power system do, and see a wind turbine simulation. Overall, it is a fairly simple site, but could be an effective demonstration in some science classes. The site functions best in IE, but can also be used in Firefox.

Applications for Education
A Crash Course in Wind Energy is a simple, but effective demonstration of how wind energy is harnessed. This site could be used as the introduction to a classroom project in which students build model wind turbines.