This week in Fargo has been incredibly windy! Instead of complaining, let’s embrace the wind and do some windy-day activities!
What is wind? Another word for wind could be gust, breeze, or gale. Dictionary.com defines wind as air in natural motion that moves along the earth’s surface.
Listen to Hank Green’s explanation of wind in this video to find out more:
- How is wind created?
- What is the point of wind? (Hint: What is wind trying to create/help the surrounding area reach?)
- How is wind destructive?
- Can wind be a good thing?
Wind as power
Although sometimes wind can be a nuisance, it can actually help us, too. Click the link below to learn more about how wind can be used as a source of renewable energy. Take the quiz at the end to check your understanding.
How does wind affect the temperature? That’s kind of a trick question. Wind doesn’t actually change the air temperature, but it does make the temperature feel colder than it actually is. If you’ve lived in the midwest, you’ve probably heard a lot about windchill. Windchill is a temperature that conveys what the air around us feels like due to the wind. Wind makes the air feel colder than it actually is. The windchill temperature is always lower than the actual air temperature. Windchill is noticed more in cooler climates during colder temperatures.
Now that you understand a little bit more about what wind is and how it is created, let’s move on to our activities for today. First, you are going to compare the temperature versus the windchill and create a visual for comparison.
YOU WILL NEED:
- A computer with internet
- A red pencil and a blue pencil
Here’s what to do!
- Check the temperature, windchill, and wind speed and write down each in the chart. You can use weather.com or any other weather website. Make sure you’re checking the weather in your city or town! When you record your findings, use the chart below for reference.
4. At the end of two weeks, analyze your graph. When was the temperature and windchill most similar? When was it the furthest apart? Did stronger winds affect the windchill more than lighter winds? What about the direction the wind was coming from?
For your second activity, you are going to build your own wind-powered race car!
YOU WILL NEED:
- Plastic straws or coffee stirrers
- Popsicle sticks
- Scotch tape
- Aluminum foil
- Coffee filters
- Tissue paper
- Plastic wrap
Here’s what to do!
- Think about a car. What are the most important parts of a car in order for it to function?
- The car you’re making today won’t have a motor and it won’t run on electricity. It’s going to run on wind! In order to make the most of the wind energy, you will need to create some sort of wind-catcher or sail for your car. Think about the materials that would work best to catch wind.
- Use paper and pencils to make a sketch of your car.
- Select the materials you would like to use for your car. Use the plastic straws or stirrers for the axles, and use the Lifesavers for the wheels. Other than that, use your imagination to construct the best car possible! Your car doesn’t necessarily have to look like a car, but it needs to be able to roll, and it needs to be able to be moved by wind. If you need a little help, check out the image below as an example.
6. Once you have a car that rolls, use the stopwatch to time how long it takes to roll 10 feet. Can you make it go any faster? Have your friends build cars and race them!
7. After you’re done racing, analyze your results. Which materials worked best for the wind-catchers? Why do you think that is?