Students watch a video about wind power-based energy in Iowa. They learn that Iowa is one of the windiest places in the United States, and that one of its many wind farms is the largest in the world. Students list environmental and economic pros and cons of wind power, and consider the role that wind energy can play in Iowa’s economic and environmental future.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 8: Modern Iowa." In this unit, students will explore the challenges and opportunities facing Iowa in the 21st century.
E.SS.3.13: Identify how people use natural resources, human resources, and physical capital to produce goods and services.
H.SS.4.25: Analyze the impact of technological changes in Iowa, across time and place.
E.SS.5.13: Describe how goods and services are produced and distributed domestically and globally.
An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
Class set of Wind Power handout
- Explain to students that we have known about wind power for a long time. For example, hurricanes, tornados, and even wind storms that blow trees over in the yard show the power of wind. This power can be harnessed and used as a clean and efficient energy source. Examples of this are windmills and wind farms. Due to the lack of windbreaks (rows of trees or shrubs), Iowa gets a lot of wind that could be used for energy. This video discusses why wind is or isn’t used.
- Distribute the Wind Power handout to students. Have students take notes on the pros and cons of wind power while watching the video.
- Play the video, The Future of Energy – Wind Power. [2:08]
- Allow a few minutes for students to finish their lists. Ask for examples of wind power pros and cons, and list them on the board.
- Ask students, “Do you think wind power can play a significant role in Iowa’s future energy needs? Can you name any other renewable energy resources?”
Pros – pollution-free, inexpensive, renewable (i.e., doesn’t use up any natural resource), double duty for people renting the land who can still use it agriculturally, provides jobs
Cons – intermittent power (the wind doesn’t always blow, or doesn’t blow steadily enough), aesthetics (some people do not like the looks of wind farms), must have controllable backup power sources for consistent energy production, finding suitable locations for wind farms is challenging
- Class Discussion
- Role in Iowa’s future: provides clean energy to many homes; provides jobs, bolstering Iowa’s economy; provides rental income for Iowa’s farmers; cuts pollution for Iowa’s residents and the environment; as technology improves and wind turbines get more efficient, the industry could grow in Iowa, and bring more money to the state.
- Other renewable energy resources – solar, hydroelectric, biomass/biofuels