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Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point K-12 Energy Education Program


K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th


Science, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan, 50 minutes
  • Experiment
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin



Mapping Wind in the Classroom

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  • This fun and hands-on group activity is useful for teaching students about air currents, air movements, and energy efficiency.
  • This group experiment and activity includes creating an air current map of the classroom and extensions for learning how to create a draft doorstop and a window insulation model to help lower household electricity bills.
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson plan is filled with classroom discussions and interactivity.
  • The materials for this lesson should be easy to find or substitute with other items.
  • The extension projects connect this topic to energy use and energy waste in buildings.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students can write their observations in a notebook or location of your choice for the "Energy Learning Log" mentioned.
  • You can use small strips of paper on the pencil instead of plastic for the experiment and feathers are not required.
  • Bubble mix can be made with water and soap and pipe cleaners can be used to make the bubble makers by bending them into loops with a handle.


  • Have students measure the wind from someone speaking, walking by, or blowing air in one direction to see how the results in the classroom differ.  Can students create a new wind pattern?
  • Consider doing this activity outside as well, weather permitting.
  • This activity could augment a classroom discussion on the connection between wind and certain weather events.
  • This activity could enhance a classroom discussion on how heating and air conditioning works and why temperature differences cause wind.
  • This activity could accompany a classroom discussion on wind turbines and how they generate electricity.
  • This could supplement a classroom discussion about other systems on Earth that impact human activity.
Scientist Notes
This resource from Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP) is a classroom activity that tasks students with mapping wind currents and drafts in their classroom. Students are split into groups, and using feathers, bubbles, or sheets of plastic draped over a pencil, they observe how air moves in their classroom and then map their findings. This resource features clear instructions that help teachers and students alike to see classroom winds that are intentional, such as from air conditioning, or unintended, such as drafts around windows and doors. Special care is taken in describing the classroom as a system. Extension items touch on how minimizing drafts can improve energy efficiency in the system of a home or classroom. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • K-ESS2-2 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.
    • PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
      • K-PS2-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
      • 3-PS2-2 Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
    • PS3: Energy
      • 4-PS3-1 Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 3: Developing Claims and Using Evidence
      • D3.4.3-5 Use evidence to develop claims in response to compelling questions.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Language (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.2.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
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