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The Windy Month of March is Perfect for STEM

There’s an old saying you might remember.

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

I think that means March is unpredictable and may have some intense weather. Perhaps even some wind! So we decided to harness that wind power with some STEM challenges!

STEM for the windy month of March - or any month. Three challenges are detailed on this blog post! Wind Cars, Wind Boats, and Windmills.

First- Wind-Powered Cars

In this challenge, students will be using materials to design a rolling car that is wind-powered. They will have to consider the placement of the car’s axle and the size of the wheels in order to make the best car.
In this challenge, students will be using materials to design a rolling car that is wind-powered. They will have to consider the placement of the car’s axle and the size of the wheels in order to make the best car.

This was somewhat more challenging than you would think!   Kids really had to work hard to make the axles and wheels work. They had to turn and catch the wind- from a fan!

Once their cars were working they decided to decorate them. We had race cars, a car driven by Mr. Mustache Man (he’s in one of the photos above), the Pirate Clipper, the Fuzzy Lemons, and so many others.   Wind-Powered cars! One of the things the kids had to record on their lab sheets was why on earth you would ever need a car powered by the wind.   My favorite answer was, 

“Maybe you had no more credit on your debit card to buy gas!” 

Wind-Powered Boats

It’s time for a STEM Challenge for the windy month of March! This challenge is part of a series all about wind-powered devices. These are great fun during a windy month, but can certainly be used all year! Your students will love building and testing these boats and then it's off to the races!
It’s time for a STEM Challenge for the windy month of March! This challenge is part of a series all about wind-powered devices. These are great fun during a windy month, but can certainly be used all year! Your students will love building and testing these boats and then it's off to the races!

Now, I know what you are thinking…..isn’t that a sailboat? Well, yeah….   But, here’s the thing. I have tried sailboats with kids and we learned a lot and they loved it. But, the focus of that sailboat task was building the boat and the sail. Many of our boats did not float very well and that made the sail not work. So, with this challenge, I gave the kids an unsinkable material for the body of their boats…….  

A POOL NOODLE!

That made the task all about creating the best sail! They had to test different shapes and sizes and then use their testing data to build the final sail.   My favorite sail they made was called the Human Sail. It looked like a scarecrow.

And Windmills!

It’s time for windy weather, kite flying, spring fever, and March Madness! Why not throw a little STEM Challenge into the mix! This spectacular challenge features building a spinning windmill. Your students will love piecing this structure together and creating a way to make the blades turn.
It’s time for windy weather, kite flying, spring fever, and March Madness! Why not throw a little STEM Challenge into the mix! This spectacular challenge features building a spinning windmill. Your students will love piecing this structure together and creating a way to make the blades turn.

Holy WOW! This was so much harder than we thought it would be!   I gave them a choice of lots of different round things to be the center wheel of the windmill and then they had to make the blades. Guess what, flat blades don’t work!  

The pink one in the above photos worked the best of all of them and it was super cute! The blades were just the right size and bent in just the right way! This one got the prize for being the most color-coordinated and it also worked well!

Here’s a great little movie I made to show some of these challenges in action!

These three challenges work so well during the month of March, but they can be completed in any month of the year. Check the posts below to see more seasonal resources:

STEM for the windy month of March - or any month. Three challenges are detailed on this blog post! Wind Cars, Wind Boats, and Windmills.