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Outreach Activities

Wind Power:

Make Your Own Windmill!

Let’s Talk About Windmills…

In the fall, have you ever seen helicopter seeds fall to the ground and make a spinning motion – kind of like a helicopter? It does this to travel farther from the tree to have its own space! Ever seen a boat use a sail on a windy day? Sailors use it to travel faster than simply paddling! These two things use what surrounds us every day – wind – to achieve something, such as survival and speed. But what about those big windmills that slowly spin in open fields? What do they do? Well, they turn free wind into power and electricity! In this project, you will be building your very own windmill, and seeing what exactly they do! You will even try to build the best windmill ever by changing certain things about it, such as how big the blades are, what shape they take, what they are made of, and how they orientate with the wind!

Why Are We Doing This?!

This activity will help teach what wind energy is, how we are able to use it, and what we can use it for. Along with this, we will implement the mathematical concepts of shape, area, and mass in the pursuit of creating the most efficient blade design for electric production.

What Do I Need?

You will need to bring:

  • Two different types of materials for cutting out blades
  • Be sure it can be cut with scissors and that there is a good amount of material. It is better to bring extra!

We will provide you with:

  • Windmill blades (non-dangerous!)
  • Wind turbine hub
  • Wooden dowels
  • PVC tower
  • KidWind nacelle w/ motor
  • Wooden spool with attached cup
  • 3 different gears
  • Multimeter
  • LED lights
  • Box fan
  • Hot glue gun


Let us start by asking ourselves some questions:

  1. What is a renewable resource?
  2. Why do we want renewable resources?
  3. What is a windmill?

Now let us examine the parts of the windmill. These include:

  • The blades: what catches the wind
  • Wind turbine hub: what holds the blades
  • Turbine nacelle: what holds the hub, gears, and motor
  • Wooden spool with the attached cup: self-evident
  • PVC tower: what holds the whole thing up!

With all this established, let’s build some blades!