Illinois Wind

Wind Energy, NGSS, and STEM Through a Wind Turbine (K-12) Curriculum

Website (by Jim Olsen)

I'm a math educator, but have become involved and interested in wind energy, wind energy curriculum, and the associated Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). #STEM This page provides me (and I hope you) basic information and links to more information.

Furthermore, I have been part of a team of five teacher educators who have put together a K-12 curriculum of 12 lessons titled, STEM Through a Wind Turbine. The curriculum is now available and is provided below.

Wind Websites

Illinois Wind - - Illinois Wind site from the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation - -

ISU Center for Renewable Energy - - Illinois State University

Wind for Schools Portal - - OpenEI (Open Energy Information) siteWind for Schools Portal

Kid Wind Project - They sell wind kits, have curriculum materials, and they have a KidWind Challenge.

Educational Resources from NREL - - NREL = National Renewable Energy Lab (US Dept. of Energy)

Wind Exchange - - from the US Dept. of Energy (DOE)

Wind Energy Basics - - Wind Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is from the U.S. Dept. of the Interior Bureau of Land Management with assistance from Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne).

National KidWind Challenge -


Main Next Generation Science Standards site -

There are Three Dimensions: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts (CCC), and Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI's)

Disciplinary ideas are grouped in four domains: the physical sciences (PS); the life sciences (LS); the earth and space sciences (ESS); and engineering, technology and applications of science (ETS).

How to Read the Next Generation Science Standards - to read NGSS

List of Common Acronyms used by NGSS (PE = Performance Expectation and more!)


STEM Through a Wind Turbine K-12 Curriculum

In 2016, a group of teacher educators at Western Illinois University developed a wind curriculum, for use in K-12 schools.

Click here for the FULL CURRICULUM.

We were supported by a Wind for Schools grant which was awarded to the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

We presented information about the curriculum at the Illinois Math and Science (ICTM/ISTA) Conference on Oct. 7, 2016 (at which point the curriculum was not yet fully complete). Here is the PowerPoint.

Drs. Abha Singh and Kim Hartweg presented "K–2 Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Activities for Understanding Wind Turbines" at the NCTM Regional Conference in Chicago, IL, on Dec. 1, 2017.

Wind Power - A Look at the Units

Disclaimer: To get a handle on wind power, let's look at the units. I am not a science expert. There is much more involved than what I'm saying here. If something here is woefully wrong, please let me know.

Here's the basic progression of the concepts and units. Our goal is kWh (kilowatt hour), which is what we use to run electrical devices. A wind turbine produces kWh.

  1. Force - everything begins with F = ma (force equals mass times acceleration). The newton (N).
  2. Work - work = force times distance. The newton meter (N∙m). One joule (J) = one newton meter. A joule (J) is (also) a unit of energy.
  3. Power - power = work/time = joules/sec. One watt = one joules/sec. 1000 watts = one kilowatt
  4. (Electrical) Energy - energy = power times time (in hours). One kilowatt-hour is 3.6 megajoules.

Jim Olsen's Homepage ~ Teaching Resources

Page URL: