Solar Updraft Towers
Get young scientists energized about all the different energy sources with a five-lesson unit that combines research, direct observations, and hands-on investigation. To begin, scholars investigate a renewable or non-renewable energy type of their choice. The second lesson focuses on energy transfer and convection currents. Young scientists watch six demonstrations that illustrate how warm air and water rise while cold air and water sink. They connect what they see to the concept of energy transfer. Next, future engineers create blades for a wind turbine using card stock that is effective enough to power an LED light attached to the turbine. The fourth of five parts in the unit has scholars create toys that run on solar and wind energy. The devices need to be solar updraft towers placed on a warm surface and utilize thermal energy to power a turbine. Finally, pupils learn about solar updraft towers by first watching a video. They then research these structures on their own and think about how the toys they made in the previous lesson use the same scientific principles as the updraft towers.