Build Your Own Wind Turbine

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Learners construct an electricity-generating wind turbine out of a plastic bottle. The instruction guide includes plans for building a vertical-axis wind turbine, modeled after a design by Finnish engineer S.J. Savonius in 1922. The Savonius rotor uses drag — not lift — to capture energy for making electricity. Use this activity to introduce learners to renewable energy and wind as a clean, safe source of energy. This resource includes troubleshooting tips and safety precautions; adult supervision recommended. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Clear plastic water bottle, 1.5L size
  • Base 14cm by 25 cm, 2 cm thick, plywood, particle board, or lumber (1x6)
  • 120m (approx.) 28-gauge enamelled magnet wire
  • 4 Rare earth disk magnets (2-2.5cm dia.)
  • 80 to 100cm Square dowels: 2 pcs 30cm long and 1 piece 20 cm long
  • Round wooden dowel (6mm or 1/4in diameter) 30 cm long
  • Light emitting diode (LED 5mm size)
  • 4 Fender washers (3cm diameter)
  • Wood screw (#8, 5/8in, square recess)
  • Screw eye (25mm or 7/8in)
  • Corrugated cardboard or foamboard, 60 cm by 20 cm (approximately)
  • 6 Braces (3 cm pieces of square dowel, both ends cut at 45 degrees)
  • White glue (small bottle)
  • Ruler
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Screw driver
  • Compass (for drawing circle)
  • Utility knife
  • Pencil
  • Nail
  • Electrical tape
  • Sand paper
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Voltmeter
  • Templates (page 3 of PDF)
  • Pliers
  • Adult help


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Rotation Motion
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • Ontario Trillium Foundation