The Windmill STREAM Project

A book-based learning unit created by KLSD's elementary librarians

Tristan held the hair dryer, Zoe steadied the windmill’s tower, Tilia and Michael connected the voltmeter to the windmill’s small motor with thin electrical wire and alligator clips. Soon, they were reporting how many millivolts their bright blue turbine was generating. “One hundred,” Tilia said, “Now it’s 106!”

The Windmill STREAM Project, created by Katonah-Lewisboro’s IMES three elementary school librarians last summer, is being implemented with all fourth graders. The project introduces students to a resilient teen inventor and offers each an opportunity to build a windmill that generates a measurable amount of electricity.

Working in teams towards a common goal

Learning how a windmill works

Steve Zoeller, the district’s staff developer for STEAM and sustainability, helped students understand how to convert the mechanical energy of the blade rotation to electrical energy, and measure the electricity generated with a voltmeter.

“After you test your windmill with the voltmeter, go back to your table and see if you can make changes that will improve your energy output,” said Hoffman. Many of the groups modified the angle of their windmill’s blades.

On round two, Zoe held the hair dryer, and Michael steadied the windmill’s tower. The numbers that Zoe and Tristan read on the voltmeter were exciting—137 … 156! “We knew it was going to work!” the students said.

considering green power