Scientific American published a great tutorial that uses a pinwheel to teach you about the science of strong winds.
Have you ever ridden your bike into a strong wind? If so, did it feel really tough? How does this compare with how you feel when the wind is pushing against your back? Does that make you feel ready for the Tour de France? In this science activity you will explore how wind-powered devices, such as wind turbines and pinwheels, also react in different ways to wind direction.
Wind turbines are machines that change the energy in wind into mechanical or electrical energy. Windmills are examples of wind turbines that convert wind energy into mechanical energy. The Netherlands is a country well known for its windmills that have been used for centuries to grind corn, drain land and cut wood. Wind farms, on the other hand, are examples of wind turbines that convert wind energy into electrical energy. In California you can see rows of wind turbines along windy ridges and mountain passes. The wind turbines on these wind farms connect directly into power grids and produce 5 percent of the electricity that that entire state uses.
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