Our first science unit will traverse some interesting terrain, as we will be investigating a series of questions related to using our resources wisely. Along the way, we will meet interesting scientists (including kids who have made meaningful contributions) and talk about how scientists think and interact with the world. We'll discuss energy, renewable v. non-renewable resources, Earth's systems, our impact on the Earth's systems, and we'll work through a design challenge in which we design windmills that can lift pennies. The design challenge process will introduce us to prototyping and iterating -- ideas that we will revisit often.


We immersed ourselves in this unit by watching clips from Inconvenient Truth and a TED Talk by William Kamkwaba, otherwise known as "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind." We also explored an island in Denmark that produces more energy than it consumes.


The mechanics of windmills and wind turbines and how they produce usable energy will be our focus next week. This exploration will give us a chance to introduce the engineering design cycle, experience some friendly competition, and represent the functional relationship of weight and time on a graph.

A few of the great websites we explored in connection to the launch of this unit: 

Denmark Island video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHlMpbm2QSo 
William Kamkwaba video:
http://www.ted.com/talks/william_kamkwamba_how_i_harnessed_the_wind
Earth's lights at night:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Earthlights_dmsp.jpg