Monday, September 29, 2008

wind generator.

Last weekend we were invited to a potluck to learn about and assemble a wind generator. Kids were welcome, and all of the materials were laid out with notes and comments so that we could all see all of the pieces before assembling. It was very interesting - each piece was fabricated, cut and molded from scratch - no kit here!

One of the coolest things for the boys (other than the tools, of course) was seeing and feeling the crazy high powered magnets on the plate. By holding a tiny battery in their hand, they could simply hold their hand over the magnetic plate and feel the strong pull through their hand. Wow!

The magnets were fun to watch as the dads tried to tighten bolts and the wrench kept crossing large air space and attaching itself to the magnet as they tried to pull against the force...and the subsequent struggle to get it off again.

Each step was explained along the way. Kids got to help with certain steps, and as you can see, A was very excited to have both a rubber mallet and a few wrenches. He even got to gently whack a few things into place. Oooh.

Once assembled, a few people cranked the arms and sure enough, the light bulb on the panel lit up - it generated energy even from just a push by hand! A success! After a few last touches, this windmill will now get mounted and installed off at its new home. Very cool stuff - I love science in action.

Of course all of that meant that A wants to know more about wind power, generators, and windmills. He also wants to find out more about magnets...lots of fun to come.

Here are a few interesting books that are getting us started:

Our Earth: Clean Energy.

Alternative Energy.

Wind Power.

And if you are interested in learning more about how and what he constructed, plans are here!


Anonymous said...

very cool.

Beth H said...

What an awesome experience for the boys...and a great springboard for some exploration!!

Lynnie said...

What an amazing thing to show your boys! My daughters, particularly my 4 year old, is at that stage where she is constantly asking questions, "Why do you have to plug things in?" recently came up (among 100s of others). We have considered installing a windmill to offset our electricity bill (just one of TONS of things on our Wish List!) but this seems like a reasonable place to start. That would be cool to have something like this to just run the barn light!

TennZen said...


My husband has been talking and talking about building a wind turbine. How cool that he could build one with the boys!

I swear, you and I must be soul sisters!

Ruth said...

This is so exciting! All aspects of it.

I read somewhere that we can buy a wind turbine (if we don't build one) for $600 or 800 dollars from some European company. We have to look into it soon . . .

Anet said...

So interesting! I would love to have some alternative energy around here! That is a great subject to study for homeschooling, I think I'll bring it up to Noah and see what happens!

Heather said...

Just wanted to let you know that I really love your book list sidebar. I bring up our library website at the same time as your blog and order away. ;-0
Thanks, we can never have too many books on the go around here.

Jodi Anderson said...

As you may or may not know, this is my husband's business (but on a grander scale as he builds wind farms).

If you'd be interested, he may be able to take your family on a tour. The most-local project that he has is one of the wind farms in Fond du Lac. He's only home about once-a-month, but I'll ask him about it just in case you're interested.

On another note, we'd like to get a small generator for our property, but I don't yet know what the rules/regulations are in our small village.

Really awesome, Denise.

latisha said...

okay who are you really? i read your blog EVERY day for inspiration and strength for unschooling. i still havent decided. but you show it can be done so well. how do you do it.

forever in awe, latisha

Anonymous said...

Awesome! It's pretty windy and sunny around here, so when we finally buy our own house we will definitely look into alternative energy.

Lisa said...

So cool! Binky would be in heaven with all those magnets and tools.

Lisa Anne said...

All I can say is that is so cool. What a real life lesson. Awesome!

denise said...

Jodi - I thought of you when we were assembling the windmill...I know is it super small compared to what he works on! :)

Thanks Heather. We love the library too - always have a big pile!

TennZen - I know! We seem to have many of the same interests.

latisha - Who am I? Is that a rhetorical question? ;) It works well for us!

Anonymous said...

Step 1 of a green energy home is conservation and to analse what your actual use is vs what it should be. I work for and we really start our customers out with that. The wind/solar home kits we sell are proven in about 10,000 installs worldwide. Our rooftop windmills are a scaled down version of proven commercial wind turbines, but small enough to roof top mount and ties directly to solar panel(s). That’s our hottest seller right now. Wind is strongest in winter season, solar strongest in summer season. So, putting both together in a generator system they compliment each other very well. They are DIY kits but very proven devices and easy to build and install.Residential Wind Power

Dawn said...

That's so neat!

Angela said...

wow, what a wonderful learning experience for your boys!! neat!