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Database Provider

Author

William Kamkwamba

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Physics, Health

Regional Focus

Africa

Format

Downloadable MP4/M4V

William Kamkwamba: How I Harnessed the Wind

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Synopsis
  • Six minute TED video featuring a young farmer from Malawi who taught himself how to engineer windmills to help his family as they struggled through famine. 
  • This is a great accompanying piece to any learning activity that is focused on perseverance through climate impacts, the use of recycled materials, a young person's sheer will to learn, or the power of innovation in the face of difficulties.  
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Inspiring story of creativity, resilience, and imagination.
  • Extension activities opportunities to follow up this video are plentiful.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Not a firm prerequisite by any means but it may be helpful if your students know the basic function of a windmill or wind generation of electricity ahead of watching the video. It just gives some additional context but is in no way a must.

Differentiation

  • If your students are interested in learning where wind energy is used around the world, they can check out this interactive resource.
  • There are a ton of opportunities to differentiate the use of this video depending on how the learning activities are designed. Here are some ideas for extension activities:
    • Activate Student Thinking: The innovation and sheer will to solve a problem in the face of adversity that is featured in this video is remarkable. Perhaps pose this scenario/question to your students: "Think of a problem that your family/community/school currently faces. What might you design to help move that problem towards a solution, as William did in the video?"
    • Scavenger Hunt: The search for construction materials is a key feature of William's story. Consider asking your students to look for materials in their homes or communities that are discarded but might be repurposed into something useful to solve a problem.Activate Student Thinking: The innovation and sheer will to solve a problem in the face of adversity that is featured in this video is remarkable. Perhaps pose this scenario/question to your students: "Think of a problem that your family/community/school currently faces. What might you design to help move that problem towards a solution, as William did in the video?"
Scientist Notes
This 6-minute video is a TED talk given in 2009 by William Kamkwamba from Malawi, in which he tells the story of how and why he built a windmill of available reused parts to help his family generate electricity and pump water. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
      • 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
      • HS-PS3-3. Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.
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