Teach yourself about wind energy by building a wind turbine using simple materials and instructions at home.
Wind turbines are gigantic – the newest models for offshore wind are almost as tall as the Eiffel Tower! While the mechanics and design of wind turbines may differ, depending on the model and the project site (high speeds, low speeds, on land, on water, and so on), all of them operate on the same scientific principles. That means you can build your own small-scale version at home, which will really work and convert wind to energy.
Doing this hands-on activity will not only teach you about renewable energy, but it will also give you firsthand experience on kinetic energy, speed and other areas of science. It’s a fun, guaranteed way to challenge your brain. And you’ll get a thrill when you take the turbine to the outdoors to test it out on a windy day too.
We’ve tried to highlight freely and commonly available resources as much as possible, but you might need to source some materials from around the house or a local hardware store. Please maintain a safe working environment – with parental supervision – when undertaking this activity.
- The US National Energy Education Development provides wind energy guides and access to a Wind Kit of materials to build your own turbine.
- KidWind teaches you how to build a wind turbine or a solar structure which can collect data to be shared online (US based).
- Kinderwind facilitates activities to teach children about wind energy, such as using recycled materials to build working models of wind turbines (Europe based).
- Follow this 2-minute video to build a wind turbine using a few simple materials, like paper clips and cardboard rolls.
- Build a rudimentary wind turbine in less than 20 minutes with this US Department of Energy video and downloadable kit.
- Build a rudimentary wind turbine with materials easily found at home.