Science 101: How do windmills generate power?by: William C. Robertson, Ph.D.

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This is a timely question given that you can now buy your own windmill (or more correctly, wind turbine) for residential use. More on that later. Using windmills to generate electricity makes sense once you understand how we generate electricity. So let’s figure that out after a brief history of windmills.

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Reviews (4)
  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:44 PM

This author does a great job at explaining wind turbines and how they are able to produce electricity. There are great diagrams related in the article, and I like the experiment that the author included in the article. The author includes the pros and cons of using wind turbines, and I think this would help the younger students understand why we can't have them everywhere to generate all of our electricity.

Michelle  (Finksburg, MD)
Michelle (Finksburg, MD)

  • on Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:38 PM

Like other articles from this author, he explains the basic concepts of a wind turbine and how it is used to generate electricity. Along with great diagrams, there is a simple experiment that students can perform in their classroom. Knowing about wind energy is appropriate for grade level students and this is a good introduction to how it is accomplished.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:07 PM

This article does a great job of explaining how turbines produce electricity and gives great activities that can be done with students to help them understand as well. What it does not do is provide any information on why people do and do not support turbines. As long as electricity is all you are interested in - this is actually great! If you want to look at issues as well, there are some forums in the Learning Center that discuss these and a number of great chapters and articles that discuss how to teach controversial issues. Sadly, although it is a great alternative source of energy, it is also an issue.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:02 PM

Robertson gives an excellent background of windmills aka wind turbines. I used this article with my middle school students to help them understand the pros and cons of utilizing wind turbines.

Sandy Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandy Gady (Renton, WA)

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