To practice the experimental design process to explore the topic of harnessing wind energy and the engineering design process of: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Evaluate, and Improve
Materials that participants can take with them:
Workshop lesson plans for middle and high school aged students, materials list, and list of resources for teachers
Educators will work through the workshop lesson Plan:
Organize students into teams of 3 or 4 and have them sit together at tables.
Begin with a group discussion of renewable energy.
What is renewable energy? It is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat—which are renewable (naturally replenished). Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity/micro hydro, biomass and biofuels for transportation.
Today we are going to explore Wind Power. Go through presentation.
You work at a high tech renewable energy company. The CEO has an opportunity to build a new wind farm near New York City and has tasked you and a team of co-workers to design a state-of-the-art wind turbine for this new investment. He would like it to be aesthetically pleasing to get buy-in from the local residents and highly efficient to satisfy the company’s stake holders. You have been given a set of blades that are used on the contemporary turbine designs and your team will need to improve on these.
(Group brainstorm) What are some of the blade variables you may want to consider in your design?
- blade length - blade material
- number of blades - weight distribution on the blades
- blade pitch -blade twist
- blade shape
Have the teams choose 2 of these variables to test and measure the impact on energy output.
Blade Variable Measurements
Put up a timer on the smartboard for this phase to keep students focused.
They will use the wind turbine in the bin for each variable and measure the output at high and low wind speed, recording the results to use as they design their own turbine. For example if they are testing Number of blades they will take measurements at high and low speeds with 1,2,3,4, or 5 blades.
Cadets might need to demonstrate how to change blades or the pitch of the blades.
When the timer gets to zero, refocus the entire group to issue the challenge.
Oil prices are soaring and stakeholders are pushing the CEO to get the wind farm up and running. The CEO has decided to offer a bonus to the team who can design the turbine with the highest energy output at high and low wind speeds, but time is vital while still keeping the costs of materials low.
Design and buy materials –Teams will use what they observed from their blade variable measurements to design their own blade(s) for their turbine. Then they will purchase supplies to build their own model.
Build –Teams will build a model of their design
The last 15 minutes the teams will test their turbines to determine the team who wins the company bonus.
MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved
Mrs. Lori Sheetz
Mrs. Sheetz is an instructor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at West Point and also serves as the Director of the Center for Leadership and Diversity in STEM. In recent years her focus has been to engage and inspire students underrepresented in the STEM fields by offering mobile STEM workshops around the US. Mrs. Sheetz received a BS in Geophysics and a M.A. in Education and has taught students from K-16. She enjoys finding new ways to teach math and science to students of all ages.
Capt. Jasmine Walker Motupalli
MAJ Motupalli is an Assistant Professor in the West Point Department of Systems Engineering and serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Society of Women Engineers. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Science in Operations Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She resides in New York with her husband, Venkat, and their three monster dogs.