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Every week we feature a fun and/or educational activity you can try at home or in the classroom. April 12, 1934, was named Big Wind Day in honor of the fastest wind speed recorded on Earth at 231 mph. The U.S. held the record until 1996 when a 253.5 mph Australian wind blew it away.

Wind TurbinesPhoto credit: hub.jhu.edu

As one of earth's natural resources, wind power is considered renewable energy. A wind turbine can be used to turn an electrical generator, which creates electricity. This healthier, sustainable technology is growing worldwide with land and off-shore wind farms.

Find out how wind turbines work

Make your own wind turbine!

Materials:

milk carton turbinePhoto credit: tlc.howstuffworks.com

  • empty half-gallon milk carton
  • hammer and nail
  • masking tape
  • pitcher of water
  • string
  1. Using the hammer and nail, punch a hole in the center top of the milk carton.
  2. Also, punch a hole in the bottom right corner on each side of the carton.
  3. Tape the holes with masking tape.
  4. Place a string through the top center hole.
  5. Hang the carton outside where it can freely swing.
  6. Fill the carton with water.
  7. Once you are all set up, pull the tape off one of the corner holes. Observe what happens.
  8. Now, pull the tape off two opposite corners. What happened this time?
  9. Pull the tape off all the corners. What happens?

You have just experienced Isaac Newton's principle-for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The force of the water exiting through one hole makes the milk carton turn. The more holes, the faster it turns.

Learn about wind power and do experiments

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