STEAM: The Wind Power Challenge

STEAM is all about collaboration so children will be working in small groups and within their houses to complete the task.

“We didn’t get it right the first time, but we worked together as a team to highlight what went wrong, drew on each other’s knowledge and modified our wind turbine. In the end we were able to lift 35g without even touching it!” Louis.

There is no better way to start a term than with a St Faith’s STEAM Day and this term was no exception. We began with an assembly in which one of the 17 global goals set by the United Nations was introduced to the children:  Goal 7 – Everyone should have access to affordable and clean energy. Our focus shifted to the Peruvian Andes and the community of El Alumbre, who live in the dark due to the rural and isolated area they live in. They rely on candles, kerosene and dry batteries to meet all their energy needs. That was until Practical Action built 21 Wind Turbines to power their community – brining light out of the darkness.

How does this information fit in with St Faith’s and my child? It serves as the perfect introduction to our own challenge – to design a simple wind turbine capable of lifting a cup off the floor up to bench height. The children then worked through the design process, gathering research needed to undertake such a challenge. In keeping with the theme of Peru our St Faithian’s took part in a Spanish lesson, completed a Maths exercise inspired by Peruvian art, learnt about how a wind turbine works and researched the country of Peru.

After lunch, work began on the construction of their turbines. Each classroom was a hive of activity as children worked in their houses to complete the challenge. They continued to work through the design process of planning, evaluating and then modifying their prototypes before completing a final evaluation. Then came the best part – testing! Teachers used hairdryers to recreate the wind to make each group’s blades turn. One group managed to lift 35g off the floor using just a pencil, paper, cup and some string! Each child showed resilience when their initial ideas didn’t pan out as they expected. The collaboration and enjoyment was clear for all to see. Watching children succeed through their own initiative and curiosity really is the best gift a teacher can be given!

We finished with an assembly in which children shared what they’d learnt from the day. We had a rip-roaring rendition of a Spanish song they’d learnt earlier, and hearing the children speak so passionately with such a positive growth mindset about how they overcame flaws in their designs to succeed left everyone grinning like Cheshire cats. What a way to start 2019 at St Faith’s!

As they would say in Peru, ‘Qué comienzo para el año!’ (What a start to the year!)