This is a lesson plan geared toward the younger ages, but can be adapted to older elementary grades with some tweaking. I’ve included activities, which integrate multiple subjects. This lesson will encourage the student to discover different concepts about the wind: how wind is made, how it helps things move and how it can help us to create electricity.
This lesson can fit in nicely in the fall as the weather is changing and the leaves begin blowing and falling. Since this lesson is geared toward the younger student a strong emphasis is given toward discovering more about the wind using hands on activities. Also, please note that the pinwheel activity may be best done in a small group as the younger student will need assistance in correctly folding and attaching the pinwheel to the straw.
Objective: The students will discover how wind is creates movement and energy.
Focus Activity: The students will take a mini field trip and discover what makes a pinwheel move.
Input: The teacher will make a student generated list of things that are moved by wind; i.e. sail boats, airplanes, hot air balloons, windmills before reading the book Feel the Wind by Aurthur Durros. This book gives a simple explanation of how wind is created. (When hot and cold air interact).
The teacher will also explain how wind is a source of electricity and show pictures of wind turbines and wind mills. There are a variety of you tube videos, here is one: www.youtube.com/watch
Math integration: The teacher will introduce the concepts of clockwise and counter clockwise while playing with pinwheels or by watching a video of wind turbines moving. The teacher will explain show the students two different directions that a windmill can move and why it is called counter clockwise, and clockwise by showing them how the hands of a clock move. The students can make a simple clock with hands using paper plates and a paper fastener.
Vocabulary: The student will describe the wind. The teacher will put sight words on the pocket chart that describe the wind. (breeze, blowing, blustery, booming, gentle, gust, brisk, strong, etc.)
Craft/Art/science Activity: The student will create a pinwheel.
The pinwheel can be kept at school for a week and used to see how the wind changes from day to day. The student will also discover that the speed of the pinwheel is different depending on the wind and will describe the wind each day of the wind unit using the vocabulary word list.