Grade 10 Physics Students Harness Renewable Energy with DIY Cardboard Wind Turbines

By Roberto Pacelli, Physics, Maths and Biology Teacher

In an exciting endeavor that combined creativity and scientific exploration, all Grade 10 physics students embarked on a remarkable project in their Idea Lab.

They designed and constructed wind turbines using recycled cardboard, with the aim of exploring energy transformations in renewable energy sources. This hands-on experience provided valuable insights into the potential of wind power and fostered a deeper understanding of sustainable energy solutions.

The project commenced with an introduction to renewable energy and the principles of wind power. Students learned about the conversion of kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy through the rotation of wind turbine blades. Through practical experimentation, they discovered how this mechanical energy could be further transformed into electrical energy using generators.

The construction of wind turbines from recycled cardboard not only demonstrated the students’ creativity and resourcefulness but also emphasized the importance of sustainability and environmental consciousness. They were encouraged to think innovatively and engineer their turbines to maximize efficiency, taking into consideration factors such as blade design, size, and angle.

Throughout the process, the students explored various scientific concepts. They delved into the principles of aerodynamics, understanding how the shape and surface area of the blades affected the turbine’s ability to capture wind energy. Additionally, they learned about electrical circuits and the transfer of energy from mechanical to electrical form.

Beyond the scientific knowledge gained, the project fostered crucial skills and qualities. The students developed their problem-solving abilities by overcoming challenges during the construction process, such as optimizing blade design and stability. They also honed their teamwork and collaboration skills through group work and shared decision-making.

In collaboration with the Grade 4 energy unit our students visited and presented their final designs to the Grade 4 classes and participated in a Q & A session in preparation for the Grade 4 students’ renewable design challenge.

The Grade 10 physics students’ venture into wind turbine construction using recycled cardboard offered a hands-on, engaging experience that highlighted the transformative potential of renewable energy. The project allowed them to explore the principles of wind power, energy conversions, and sustainable solutions. Moreover, it nurtured creativity, problem-solving skills, and environmental consciousness.