Today we can see big modern wind turbines scattered across the landscape but did you know that the first windmills were developed to automate the tasks of grain-grinding and water-pumping and the earliest-known design is the vertical axis system developed in Persia about 500-900 A.D.
This challenge is designed to get you to discover as much as you can about windmills and wind turbines.
There are a number of resources and images provided to get you started and the following focus questions can help to guide your research. Some of the questions only need a short answer- others will require you to 'dig deep' into the information provided.
Some questions to get you started...
What is the definition of a windmill?
When were the first windmills created?
What is the difference between a windmill and a wind turbine?
What have been some of the uses of windmills over the centuries?
What is the main use of windmills / wind turbines today?
Which countries are the greatest users of wind turbines today?
Where is the biggest wind turbine and how big is it?
What are some the benefits of using wind turbines to generate power /energy?
What is the most interesting thing you have found out about wind turbines?
What do you see are the biggest advantages of using wind turbines?
What is the Moving Windmills Project and who is William Kamkwamba?
Resources to help you
The following images show you a range of different windmill types.These images are all Creative Commons or "Free to use and share".
Wind Turbine (Wikipedia)
The Illustrated History of Wind Power Development
The History of Wind Energy
Timeline:The history of wind power
The Windmill (Encyclopedia.com)
How do wind turbines work?
Moving Windmills Project?
Have you ever had the opportunity to cross a really interesting bridge? Have you ever wondered how it was made? This next challenge will get you to explore 20 of the most famous or interesting bridges around the world.
Here is what you have to do.
Which of these bridges is the longest?
Which of these bridges is the oldest?
Which bridges are viaducts?
Which bridges are suspension bridges?
Which bridges are for pedestrians only?
Which would you consider the most interesting bridge and why?
Which bridge do you think is the greatest engineering feat?
What other questions could you ask about these bridges?
Toroidal vortices are also known as bubble rings. Watch the following videos and follow the links to find out how they are made and what they have to do with dolphins. There will be some questions to answer at the end.
1. What are four different examples of where toroidal vortexes can be found / made (either natural or man made)?
2. Which gender of dolphins seems to make more bubble rings?
3. How do dolphins make the bubble rings?
4. Describe an easy experiment where you can make a toroidal vortex.
5. What other interesting facts can you find about toroidal vortices?
Post your answers to the questions in the comments section below.