District Partners with Community on Year Long "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" Collaboration

Alexander Wolff

This school year, the Pelham Public Schools Math and Science Departments along with the Junior League of Pelham, Pelham Education Foundation, Pelham Civic Association, Pelham Public Library, Pelham Art Center, the Chamber of Commerce and The Picture House, have launched a K-12 and community-wide science education collaboration in connection with the book “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. The book tells the true story of how Kamkwamba, a native Malawi, Africa, used scarce supplies and scientific ingenuity to devise a plan to bring electricity and running water to his town.

Guided by the inspiration and core tenets of the book, students across all grade levels will participate in science lessons and activities exploring key themes of innovation, energy, imagination and perseverance. Some examples include:

  • A kindergarten read aloud of the book followed by a virtual field trip to learn about wind farms

  • Partnering with Suez water for a 3rd grade project based on the book “The Long Haul,” in which students read the story of a young girl's dreams of bringing clean water to her African village and then work to create a rainstick

  • A seventh grade lesson involving a school site analysis for harnessing wind

  • A high school design challenge that utilizes wind energy to power sailboats across a body of water.

These lessons will be supplemented by a host of community-wide programming, including a virtual visit by Mr. Kamkwamba on February 28. Additional community-wide events include:

  • Monthly film screenings at The Picture House

  • An adult book chat and children’s storytime at the library

  • A career panel for PMHS students on careers in sustainable energy

  • Ask a Scientist events where students can learn about different fields of science

  • A “build a wind turbine” event for elementary school students in the spring

A full list of upcoming community events, as well as additional information about the initiative is available on the “Pelham Harnesses the Wind” website

“We are really excited to be able to incorporate this incredible story into our science curriculum this year,” said Dr. Tom Callahan, Director of Science and Math. “‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ is an inspirational story that meshes perfectly with our goal of Authentic Learning and helping our students become critical thinkers and innovators. I’m truly thankful to our community organizations for joining and supporting this effort.”

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