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Rebecca J. Barthelmie, Sara C. Pryor


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Physics, Earth and Space Sciences, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 3 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Assessments
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus


How Do Wind Turbines Work?

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  • This video explains how wind turbines work and the current challenges and benefits of producing wind power. 
  • Students will learn about the primary factors that determine how much energy wind turbines can produce, including the size and orientation of the blades, the blade's design, and the amount of wind that will turn the rotor. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video and accompanying resources are a great introduction to wind power and how wind turbines work.
  • The quiz and additional links provide opportunities for teachers and students to dive deeper into this topic.

Additional Prerequisites

  • For students to participate in the quiz in the Think section, they must enter their names (their responses are shared with TEDEd). This is only allowed for students who are 13 years of age or older.


  • The Dig Deeper section includes additional resources and links, including a comic book that can be downloaded in 33 languages, information about the science of wind energy, and 360-degree videos. 
  • The Discuss section offers a guided discussion question that could be used for a small group or whole-class discussion. 
  • Related resources include this e-book on renewable energy sources and these videos and articles about jobs in the wind power industry.
Scientist Notes
Wind energy is a renewable energy source with a lot of potential. This TEDEd video breaks it down and is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS3: Energy
      • MS-PS3-1 Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
      • MS-PS3-5 Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Algebra: Creating Equations (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.CED.A.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
    • Expressions & Equations (6-8)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.EE.B.6 Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.
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