Second-grade students at Deasy School received a lesson in engineering when STEM teacher Jessica McKenna educated them on how wind can be a clean alternate energy source when transformed with the help of technology.
The students learned about windmills and turbines and how they operate. McKenna also showed students a video of a wind turbine from the East End of Long Island and discussed the possibility of a wind farm being installed off the coast of Long Island.
Students used the Engineering Design Process outlined by the Museum of Science in Boston to design and create blades for a windmill design. The seventh-graders worked in pairs to brainstorm and sketch out their designs. Once they decided which designs would be best, they constructed their prototypes.
To conclude the unit, students tested their prototypes. Once testing was complete, they shared their thoughts about why certain designs were successful and why others failed. In STEM, McKenna says, “fail” stands for first attempt at learning. STEM class students are taught not to get discouraged when something doesn't work, but to persevere and redesign if they aren’t successful on the first try. The second-graders were encouraged to think about how they would improve their blades to successfully complete the challenge.
Next year, the second-grade students will bring their knowledge of STEM to Landing School and will continue their STEM exploration with Landing STEM teacher Kenneth Altamirano.