The boy who harnessed the wind


“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” – Thomas Edison 

Last week Gr 1-5 classes learned about the invention of the abacus. This week we look at a remarkable innovator, William Kamkwamba, who, as a boy in Malawi made a windmill from scrap materials. William, whose family was too poor to send him to school, was able to borrow a book from the school library and from just a picture of a windmill was able to work out how to generate electricity from wind power. His remarkable story is told in his book The boy who harnessed the wind, co-written by Bryan Mealer. In library classes we’ve watched a documentary of his story and you can watch it here:


Grade 4 students learn about wind power


Today, Mr Roland Valckenborg from Windpower Serengeti and I Love Windpower – Tanzania explained to the grade 4 students how wind can be used to generate electricity.  It was a fascinating talk, as Mr Valckenborg showed us that the equipment used to make the turbines can all be bought locally.  We got to touch the wooden wind turbine blade and tried to produce some wind ourselves! Mr Valckenborg teaches Tanzanians how to make wind turbines, and I think many of us would also like to make our own wind turbines. Thank you very much for coming to talk to us!

There is an inspiring story about a 14 year old Malawian boy, William Kamkwamba, who made his own wind turbine from scrap materials and was able to generate electricity for his family’s house.  He has written a book called The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind which is available in the IST Secondary library.  You can see a short video of his story by clicking on the picture below: