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