Lesson 3
Part 1

Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills

Testing Sail Designs (1) / Grade 2 / Framingham, MA

EiE - Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills, L3 Part 1


The EIE Curriculum

Students predict, test, observe, and describe how sails made of different materials and shapes catch the wind. 

Reflection Questions

What strategies do you see Pat using to reinforce student understanding of the functions and properties of sails?

Pat asks students to describe what a sail does (its function). She summarizes students’ ideas for the whole class, and asks probing follow-up questions to push their thinking. She also asks students to make predictions, which gets them to share their opinions about which properties are important to making a good sail.

  • When a student explains her understanding of the purpose of a sail, Pat responds with a summary statement. (0:21)
  • When a student explains how she thinks the interaction between a sail and the wind works, Pat asks a question that guides students to the idea that wind acts as power or energy for the sail. (0:35)
  • Pat shows the class chart and keeps it posted throughout the lesson so students can refer back to it. (2:15)

Pat has students make predictions prior to making sails. What evidence do you see that this will help students make informed design decisions later on?

Making predictions guides students to form their own opinions about what might work well and what might not. During testing, students will hopefully be vested in learning whether their predictions were correct.

  • One student lists a few materials he thinks will work well, and adds “that’s all I’m going to use,” implying a direct link between his predictions and the sail he’ll create. (3:12)