Churchill Road 2nd graders Nolan Harrison, Oliver Tu, Katherine Senich, Neil Bajaj, Aidan Nguyen and Salma Saout look on with interest as Debra Maes demonstrates how a wind turbine can be used to power an LED light.
Photo by Kim Moran
Churchill Road students incorporated environmental studies with their science unit on weather when they learned about the power of wind as an alternative energy source. Debra Maes, Churchill’s environmental studies coordinator, introduced the concept using some hands-on activities. During their weather unit, students in Jan Clark's kindergarten class made wind gauges with assistance from Mr. Jinhai’s 6th grade class. Second graders in Jacqueline Laurenzi’s class tested the viability of wind turbines as an energy source. They discovered that the effectiveness of wind is dependent on weather patterns, and that an area such as Northern Virginia is not an ideal location. They also learned that such factors as wind speed and the size and shape of blades are important variables. Students had the opportunity to test firsthand a handheld wind turbine to see if it could generate enough power to illuminate an LED light.