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Database Provider

Author

William Kamkwamba

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Physics, Health

Resource Type

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 43 seconds, CC, Subtitles

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
  • Science and Engineering
    • 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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