Ms. Thomas’s class at West DeFuniak Elementary was introduced to the life changing impact of wind power using a Lego STEAM challenge and a bit of inspired reading. Their class read “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”, which is the story of William Kamkwamba. William grew up in a small village in Malawi that was devastated by famine and drought. Forced to leave school, he used donated books in the village library to teach himself how to build a windmill and create electricity. He was responsible for providing his village access to electricity for the first time ever.
Inspired by William’s story, the students were given a challenge to build wind racers, or wind powered cars that could be used for transportation in remote areas where there is not access to other fuel sources. They could only use Legos, a 4x5 piece of paper for the sail, and a biodegradable straw as their mast. Students collaborated with one another in teams of two to create unique team names, design their sails, and construct their wind powered cars. Then, they took the challenge one step further by racing their cars to see which design would be able to transport valuable resources between locations the fastest. Students learned how the weight, height, balance, durability, and other characteristics of their projects affected the distance and speed they were able to travel. The winning design was able to travel three yards in under twelve seconds!
Submitted by Jessica Dawkins
Group: (Top Row Left to Right) Heaven Hogans, Cathy-Mae Fullwiler, Garrett Hansen, Kenneth Ingram, Zoey McHenry, Dakota Day (Middle Row Left to Right) Hayden Dunham, Zanieh Stuckey, Trey Simmons, Karma Olson-Morgan, Madison Melcher (Bottom Row Left to Right) Garrett Frymire, Tyler Betts, Tyler Baker.
Winning Team: Zoey McHenry & Dakota Day