Lesson 3
Part 2

Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills

Testing Sail Designs (2) / Grade 2 / Cincinnati, OH

EiE - Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills, L3 Part 2


The EIE Curriculum

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

Reflection Questions

What types of questions does Laura ask at the testing station, particularly when sails don’t work?

Laura asks specific questions about what students expected to happen, and how what they’re seeing may be different from that. When students leave the testing station, she asks them which parts of their sail they will improve. 

  • Laura asks, “When you redesign this, what are you going to change about the sail?” The student says she needs the sail to be stiffer. (3:29)
  • Laura asks a student whose design is twisting, “What could you change to make the air go where you want?” She follows up with a question specifically about the coffee stirrer—“What about this piece?” (5:45)

How does Laura encourage positive student interactions when students are testing and designing?

Laura reinforces the idea that engineers work together by guiding students to help each other brainstorm improvement ideas, and encouraging students to incorporate ideas from other students’ designs. 

  • Laura encourages two students to discuss one of their designs to come up with improvement ideas. (8:15)
  • Laura asks one student if he can get any ideas from another student using similar materials. (9:21)
  • When the class is sharing findings after testing, Laura asks one student, “Did you get any advice from anybody?” The student shares how two classmates helped her plan out the improvement ideas, and Laura emphasizes that engineers usually work in teams. (11:05)