After visiting Spain last spring, I was hoping to have my students complete a STEAM project connected to the windmills of La Mancha. Unfortunately, with the craziness of testing time, then the end of the year, the project never got off the ground. While we did many other great Spain activities and talked about the windmills made famous by the book Don Quixote, I couldn’t stop thinking about the STEAM project that wasn’t.
Over the summer while in Amsterdam my obsession with a windmill STEAM project returned. My sister and I took a day trip outside the city to Zaanse Schans, a little neighborhood filled with working windmills. Visiting the windmills reminded me how much I wanted to find a great windmill STEAM activity for my students. Not only are windmills pretty fascinating structures, but it is a perfect tie in with the traveling I have done. Gotta love global connections in the classroom!
I was excited to tour one of the windmills, especially since it was in use while we were there. It was pretty amazing to see the windmill parts in action grinding flax seed into oil the old fashion way. The miller told us that even though it is much more efficient and cost effective to do this in factories, the community has made it a priority to keep the windmills working. This way locals and tourists alike, can see windmills at work the way they have been for hundreds of years. Windmills are such an important part in the Netherland’s history.
After a bit of searching I think I have found a great windmill STEAM lesson at where else but, Teacher Pay Teachers! Even better, with the year stretched before me, there is LOTS of time to have students complete this windmill inspired STEAM activity. It will be great to incorporate pictures from two trips and share videos from Zaanse Schans to get students excited and inspired!