Grade 6: K’NEX Windmill Competition (MS-ETS1-3)

  • Grade: 6, MS
  • Content Area: Engineering, Physics
  • NGSS Standard: MS-ETS1-3

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Description

This unit was taught in a sixth grade classroom with students of varying academic abilities. Prior to this unit, the class had an introduction lesson to energy, specifically focusing on kinetic and potential energy using K’NEX Education: Force, Energy & Motion. The unit covered the NGSS Engineering standard focusing on using evidence to design solutions to a meet the goal of designing windmill blades that captured the most energy.  We used 12 K’NEX Education: Renewable Energy kits as well as 4 Turbo fans purchased from Target. The class of 31 students was broken into 11 groups consisting of 2 – 3 students.  The students worked in collaborative groups to conduct the experiments and then the whole class was brought together to focus on making sense of their data. Students designed their own unique blade using the K’NEX and then students ran experiments changing the length, angle and number of blades used. The goal was for students to create an argument using evidence from hands-on experiments.  The students would use their findings to redesign and retest their blade to have the most efficient design possible.