Using a few common household items, you can build a working windmill with your kids for any school science project. If your children are especially keen, you can even make it produce electricity, based on the American wind machine design from the late 19th century. The windmill will generate enough alternating current, or AC, to power a small light bulb. If the experiment is indoors, or on a calm day, you will need a small electric fan to create the wind.
Building the Windmill
1. Create the bottom base of the windmill by gluing 10 wooden craft sticks, side-by-side to each other with wood glue.Repeat with another 10 wooden craft sticks, glued side-by-side. Glue the two bases on top of each other, in opposite directions, to make a two-layered bottom.
2. Create the tower of the windmill by gluing the bottom of the paper towel tube to the center of the base using wood glue. Ensure the paper towel tube is tightly glued down by adding several coats of glue around the edges of the bottom of the paper towel tube.
3. Push the nail through the top of the paper towel tube leaving an inch of space between the top of the tube and the nail. Spin the nail several times to create a large hole allowing the windmill to easily spin.
4. Glue a large craft circle to the head of the nail using a glue gun.
5. Glue six wooden craft sticks to the back of the wooden circle spaced evenly apart creating the fan blades.
6. Test the windmill's spinning capability by pointing the fan toward your windmill and turning it on.
1. Attach two magnets to each side of the nail inside the paper towel tube. Wrap the entire roll of magnet wire around the top of the paper towel tube, surrounding the nail hole without covering it up. Tape down the magnet wire leaving both ends loose by about three inches.
2. Cut back the plastic covering of both ends of the wire by at least one inch. Make sure all the covering is scraped off, exposing the copper colored wire.
3. Twist each end of magnet wire around each end of the light bulb wire tightly.
4. Test the windmill by turning on the fan which should spin the windmill blades and light the light bulb.
Things You'll Need
- 1 bag of wooden craft sticks
- 1 tube of wood glue
- Paper towel tube
- 1 large nail, 8cm or longer
- 1 large wooden craft circle
- Glue gun
- Small fan to create wind
- 4 small ceramic block magnets
- Magnet wire
- Miniature light bulb
About the Author
Jennifer Guy, a freelance writer since 2008, enjoys writing technology and creative arts articles for websites such as eHow.com. Guy has an associate degree in computer science from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a graphic design certificate from Saddleback College.