Have a look at our phOck class really showed their engineering mettle this week when I asked them to design and make a wind powered winch. We had talked about how we can use renewable, natural resources like wind, water and sunlight to create electricity, and how non-renewables like coal are pollutants and have cause environmental damage. Wind power has been used to hundreds of years in windmills, so we tried to emulate that, creating our own blade designs.
This was a very tricky problem. There were a number of sticky engineering points to overcome. As well as designing and making the blades, they had to be attached properly to the shaft, and then the shaft had to rest on the table, without moving. The blades needed to be angled to catch the "wind" (i.e. my hairdryer!) but also hardy enough to stand up to the wind. The children also had to fashion a "basket", which could be pulled up as the shaft turned (without getting in the way of the blades). We decided to test the designs by using the hairdryer on its lowest setting, 50cm away from the turbine.
I was really impressed with how well my class approached this problem. They showed lots of different animal attitudes, especially the bold badger and the bounce back bunny. They also worked incredibly well in their groups, showing me just how much they are growing in confidence.
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