Lesson 1

Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills

Windmills Storybook / Grade 2 / Framingham, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills, L1

A storybook introduces the engineering challenge and context. In this story, Leif, a boy from Denmark, learns about mechanical engineering as he designs his own windmill.

Reflection Questions

How does Pat the set the stage for the reading of Leif Catches the Wind?

Pat reviews the prior experiences and knowledge that students have that will relate to things they’ll hear about in the story.

  • Pat asks if anyone has heard of Denmark and then locates the country on her wall map. (1:45)
  • Pat goes over what students have already learned about windmills and turbines, and has students identify the differences between the two. (2:13)
  • Pat reminds students that they, too, tried to catch the wind when they made parachutes and pinwheels. (3:54)


Where do you see Pat asking questions that get her students thinking specifically about engineering?

Pat asks students to think about the type of work mechanical engineers might do, and she points out how characters in the story use the Engineering Design Process.

  • Pat first introduces Leif Catches the Wind as a story about engineers and asks, "What are mechanical engineers?" (0:20)
  • Pat says, "Leif’s got a problem to solve. So, what process do you think he is going to follow?" Her students respond, "The Engineering Design Process." (8:59)
  • Pat asks, "Is it important, do you think, that Leif makes a plan before he build his windmill? Why?" Students share several ideas about why planning is important. (9:48)