Wind Turbine Blade Design Part 2: Brainstorm Solutions & Build a Prototype

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SWBAT to construct a model from design and test the efficiency of the prototype.

Big Idea

In this second lesson on wind turbine blade design, students construct and begin testing their designs.

Getting Started

In this lesson students will :

  • Complete their initial blueprints
  • Construct their first set of blades
  • Complete the initial test on their blades. 

Science Materials Needed:

  • KID WIND Turbine kits
  • 3-speed 20” Box Fans
  • Materials to build with (card board, foam core, Blue Core ¼” thick Dow protection board 3 Insulation, available at most Lowes’s Stores)
  • Wood dowels (1/4”)
  • Tape, cutting mats, utility knives, mini-mitre box and saws, glue guns, glue, sand paper

 Science Tools Used:

Multimeters, tachometers, digital protractors, anemometer, metric ruler

Downloadable Lessons from The NEED Project 


10 minutes

This class is a continuation of the previous lesson. Your students should pick up where they left off, ideally they have completed their initial research and have some ideas for designs. 

I require each group to submit a detailed blueprint that clearly communicated their design. It must have all dimensions in metric units, list all materials used, the number of blades, length and placement of the dowel, names, date and title. See the graph paper (small-grid) template that I use. 

I stress the importance of communicating through drawing as a skill of engineering and construction in the video below:



Review the Wind Turbine Testing Protocols at this time as well. From this point on you will most likely have groups working at different paces so make sure they all have the information they need to manage their time and keep working while you help groups that are struggling or need coaching. 

Below is a student blueprint:


50 minutes

Once students have their drawings approved, they begin construction and move on to the first round of testing. Be sure to give them a safety briefing with regards to using the hot glue guns, knives, saws, etc. 

Monitor their building and coach them on making sure that each blade is as close an identical copy of the other. Help them think through any snags they come across. 

Since they are required to keep a budget, this a good time to remind them to keep track of the amount of supplies they are using and update their budget as they proceed. Here is an example of a completed budget. 


Once students have a working set of blades they should move right into testing. I review the Wind Turbine Testing Protocols handout with each group and explain what is must be completed. 

You will also need to show them the testing stations and tools for recording data. This includes use of the box fans, the multimeters, how to adjust blade angles, and all necessary measurements including distance from fan, height of turbine, mW of electricty, etc. 

Since the groups are usually working at different paces at this point, it is easy to show one group at a time as they are ready to start testing. 

Give yourself plenty of time to clean up at the end of the class. 


15 minutes

I do not let my students move on to construction until their drawings contain enough detail that I could build their design from what they have provided. Keep in mind that drawing is a skill so provide support to groups who may need more direction. 

I require them to turn in their resting results for a grade. I evaluate these on the completeness of their testing, making sure that they included units, variables, constraints, summaries, etc.