This hands-on STEAM activity is perfect for children 7 and up! As with all educational activities, safety is extremely important! Parent supervision is required.
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Colored Card Stock Paper (6″ x 6″ or 5” x 5”)
- Bendy Straws
- Hole Puncher
- Air Dry Clay or Pins
- Scotch Tape
- Pick a square of the cardstock and fold it in half at the corners. Repeat this both ways and then unfold.
- Cut slits along the folded lines. Start at the corners and cut 3/4ths of the way towards the middle of the sheet. Do this for each corner.
- At each of the corners, punch a hole in the left point. Only do this on the left point. Repeat this so you have four holes at each corner (and at the left point).
- Next, punch a hole in the very center of the square.
- Then pick out a bendy straw and fold it at a right angle. Place the center of the sheet over the straw at the bendy section so that the straw runs through the sheet of paper.
- Pull one corner (that has a hole) towards the center of the sheet and push the straw through the hole. Tape it down and repeat this step with each of the four corners that have holes.
- Remove the straw from the pinwheel. Take a pencil and push it through the pinwheel to widen the center hole so that the pinwheel can spin easy.
- Push the straw back through the center of the pinwheel. Place a piece of air dry clay (or use a pin) on the end of the straw to keep it from falling off.
- Test out your pinwheel by blowing on the wheel counterclockwise.
What Is Happening?
You may have noticed that your pinwheel looks like a wind turbine. That’s because they are in a way! The colorful wheel has “blades” that spin counterclockwise when air passes through it. The blades are three dimensional and act as “cups” to capture the air so that they can move with the power of the wind.Wind turbines harness the power of the wind to convert kinetic energy into electrical power. Unlike this pinwheel, a wind turbine will typically have two to three blades. Wind turbines are considered an alternative energy source.
Take a field trip to a Wind Farm with Caitie’s Classroom!
Wind Turbine – (n.) a mechanical device that uses the power of the wind to generate electricity.
Kinetic Energy – (n.) the energy being used by an object in motion.
Alternative Energy – (n.) is energy that is generated in ways that do not harm the environment or deplete natural resources.