Unit Overview

Students use their understanding of weather to engineer windmills that can use the energy of the wind to perform work.

  • Grades 1–5 (Designed for grades 1–2; includes modifications for grades 3–5.)
  • Setting: In school
  • Science connection: Weather
  • 5 lessons (8–9 class sessions)

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each EiE unit with careful attention to educational standards in both science and technology/engineering. View Standards Alignments.

Unit Map

Students are introduced to the concepts of engineering and technology. (30–40 min.)
The class reads a storybook in which a boy named Leif living in Denmark explores the field of Mechanical Engineering in order to build a windmill to save a friend’s fish. (90–120 min., 2–3 sessions)
Students analyze the structures of different types of machines. (45–50 min.)
Students observe how different materials and shapes catch the wind when used as sails. (100–125 min., 2 sessions)
Students follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process to imagine, plan, create, test, and then improve their own windmill blades. (100–120 min., 2 sessions)

Sample How-to Video

Sample Classroom Video

What's Included?

  • Teacher Guide (PDF)
  • Illustrated Story (PDF)
  • Print Materials (PDF)
  • Additional Resources