• Views 26
  • Favorites


Paleontological Research Institution, Ingrid Zabel


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Build a Wind-Powered Machine

Ask a Question

  • This video provides a demonstration of how to build a simple wind-powered machine using a cup, pencil, string, tape, and piece of paper.
  • Students will learn that the wind has been used for hundreds of years to power machines and that it continues to be a valuable source of clean energy today. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video introduces a fun, hands-on format for learning about wind energy that allows for student and teacher creativity.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This resource provides the written directions for this activity, which can be downloaded or printed
  • A canned food item or paper cup can be used instead of a plastic cup and a rolled-up piece of paper will likely work better than a straw, as it is adjustable and it doesn't contribute to plastic pollution.


  • Cross-curricular connections could be made with art classes, as students can add their own unique designs, colors, or artwork to the elevators and windmills.
  • This video could be used as an introduction to an in-class project or could be watched in class and then assigned as an at-home project. 
  • Related assignments might include asking students to provide a written or oral summary of the steps of this project after watching, drawing a diagram of the project to demonstrate understanding, or responding to written prompts about the value of wind energy after watching the video. 
  • Other resources about renewable energy include this online course, this e-book by the Climate Reality Project, and this video by LabXchange.
Scientist Notes
This 6-minute video presents an at-home or in-class activity in which you build a wind-powered machine that converts wind power (from your lungs) into mechanical lifting power. The necessary material and steps are clearly presented. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3-5-ETS1-1 Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
    • PS3: Energy
      • HS-PS3-3 Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • Related Resources


    Login to leave a review