Bursts of Energy...
Wind Energy Activity: "Weather Vanes"

Grade school students learn about wind energy.
Photo: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
A wind energy educational activity called "Weather Vanes" was written for students in grades K through 3rd.

In this mechanical energy activity students will learn to identify the direction from which the wind is blowing. When relying on wind to produce energy it is important to know the direction of the wind. Windmills, hot air balloons and sailboats, for example, are dependent on the direction of the wind.

Wind is a source of energy because it is created by the sun. More specifically, wind is caused by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface. Because our planet is not perfectly smooth and because it is made up of water and land, some areas heat more quickly than others. Water takes a lot more energy to heat up than land does. Mountain tops heat up more quickly than valleys. Beaches heat up more quickly than oceans, and so on.

Wind is always present and is a daily weather phenomenon. We often notice it when we see leaves move, flags outstretched, etc. You can point out to students that sometimes wind can be annoying because strong gusts can move us around or blow dust in our eyes.

Bursts of Energy and other classroom activities can be found on the Energy Office website.

Editorial Note: Each issue of the Nebraska Energy Quarterly will feature a energy-related activity that can be used in schools or at home.

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