Fort Lewis Elementary School hosted All About Learning, a Michigan-based company, for an on-site field trip on Thursday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 22, 2013.
Sarah Young, an All About Learning contractor from Danville, Va., traveled to the school to teach the students about different energy sources over a two-day period.
“I’ve always worked with kids,” Young said of her decision to become an All About Learning representative. “I love the hands-on approach.”
Young started her lesson by teaching the students about all sorts of energy sources, including both renewable and non-renewable options, and asked the students to name some of the pros and cons to wind energy. She also taught the students the difference between horizontal access turbines and vertical access turbines.
After the brief lecture, each student received a packet with materials to build their own small vertical access wind turbine. The students worked to personalize their turbines by decorating the four blades.
“Today we got more creative!” fourth-grader Amarri Edwards announced.
But building the turbine wasn’t the end of the lesson. Students will work with their teachers in the coming weeks to try out 10 experiments with the turbines. They will hang the turbines in different areas and test for wind speeds. The lessons are a way for students to make inferences through discovery education, according to Fort Lewis Elementary principal Cindy Klimaitis.
Fort Lewis also hosted All About Learning last year, when the students built mechanical Lego cars.
“Last year was amazing,” said Sherry Meredith, fourth-grade teacher at Fort Lewis. “Some of the kids that are not your traditionally strong students picked it up fast, and the ones who usually have no trouble were asking the other kids how they did that. It was very interesting to see the dynamics.”
The wind energy lesson was intended as a STEM project for the students, the hope being that students will have an increased interest in STEM-related courses. Even the Kindergarteners are getting in on the STEM projects: earlier this month, they worked to build Valentine mailboxes with limited materials, which had to meet certain requirements like have four legs and a working door.
“There are a lot of bright students at this school,” said Klimaitis.