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first elective day program – kite making session



Emergency!!!!! Energy is …

  • a paradox So called taai vraagstuk (Dutch), or wicked problem
  • there is so much
  • it is not enough
  • and what there is – climate change
  • at least
    • don’t waste – but what is wasting energy exactly?
    • reuse existing energy – wind is energy
    • reduce footprint -but again what is a footprint?
    • address the paradox problem – become aware of its complexity

Concept of “The Living Station”

  • Energy as a substance for Design

experiential learning

this page:

Elective picture page:

trying out kites by….wind….running…adjusting….making movies….documenting

lunch talk by Sandrine

making the Indian bana kite

adjusting kite properties

intro microcontrollers

reflection on learning

showing and or flying some kites

second elective day program – electro motor and propeller session

start at 9:00

Sandrine: energy transformation – what is a motor –

A “normal” motor works on a heat difference – steam engine, car motor.

Motors on wind or solar energy don’t use a heat difference. First there is electricity from somewhere, then with a clever trick of copper wiring, this is converted into movement. The clever trick uses the principle of induction.

let’s take a look at some “real” kite energy projects video’s

some intro electricity from magnets and spools

demo special generator spool

making spool from copper wire and the funny rotator:

study difference

  • electro motor
  • generator
  • stepper motor

making propeller

checking with volt meter

kite theory

different kites

again microcontrollers

connecting to the microcontroller maybe?

reflection on learning

improving kite making

  • color the kite surface
  • put text on the kite surface

Thursday – third elective day program – making a bigger delta kite

in your group, you work on your project of kites and energy

there is a small generator available for your group.

one way to go is making a sort of delta kite (the one I showed you) and add your propeller

make a better propeller if necessary, or add all propellers….

find out and make a connection to the generator (making challenge)

show that the led is lighting up

if finished - test you propeller kite in the air this is for Friday

Friday – fourth elective day program – testing kite + electrometer system

morning – you finish your kites in school, so that we can all see what you did and already discuss it.

afternoon - flying the kites

kite ready?

energy system attached?

Location Kralingse Plas, depending on the wind direction, one of the four sides of this square lake.

hopefully there is enough wind – otherwise you have to run your kite

great site for wind prediction: wind –

doing making reflecting documenting

Monday fifth elective day program – reflecting – improving

Monday morning 10:00 – 12:30 we will start the last session.

Bring your bigger kite to school!

We will review the elective and find out what you learnt – also how your learning style.

We will look back at the program and make a general documentation using your best pictures, stories and thoughts

During your kite making don’t forget to make pictures.

At 12:00 or so I have to review your activities from the “logbook” where you made notes and decide if you have passed the elective or not – based on your activities.

showing chatting doing making reflecting documenting

what did we learn? More important: HOW did we learn, how did you learn, there are different styles....

elective main learning goals

making – on two levels

  • design part: kite, shape but also dynamics – something that lifts of in the air
  • design challenge or mission – generation of energy (solving the emergency) by using wind

making – styles

  • improvised making
  • being able to switch between materials and technology
  • reflection on what you make – how to improve

making with uncertainty

  • not being expert in either kite design or energy – how to deal with this?
  • stay in your flow zone – yes, easier said than done 🙂
  • you start with all kinds of unknown techniques, materials, concepts – coping strategies
  • try out, make mistakes, fail and go on
    • learning is only be done by making mistakes, so mistakes are not at all catastrophes, errors or stupid!!!!
    • making mistakes: loss of time, money….yeah – that is learning – but then it is not wasting time!
    • stress – yeah that is learning – try to keep yourself balanced
    • this is psychology – yes of course 🙂
    • if you see something beautiful, or somebody performing well …. be sure the person has put a lot of time and effort into it – and has suffered to get at this level.
  • resist giving up
  • reflect, take time for new approaches
  • ask advice
  • really practice sometimes, till you get it
  • be on the look out for other ways, even other subjects
  • remember your solutions, for other cases

making – reflections

  • practical making
  • critical making
  • investigating making

different learning domains

  • making
  • working with materials
  • working with tools and machines
  • integrating technology
    • electronics
    • microcontrollers
    • programming
  • testing, going out and fly the kite
  • check your goals
    • what is the energy coming out
    • did the kite fly well
    • was it designer fun
    • how can this be improved?
  • what did I learn
    • how will I try this differently the next time

Pedagogical Model

The model we use for this elective is experiential learning (D.A. Kolb, 1984: Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall)

There’s is even a model on top of this: of Kay Peterson and David A. Kolb, 2017 : “How you learn is How you live”:

These models are within the so called affective domain – described or proposed by Bloom and Krathwohl – Handbook II. Affective domain – 1956 the text of which can be found here:

This affective domain is in contrast with the first domain of Bloom and Krathwohl – the cognitive domain.

We are at what I call “a school which operates mainly inside the affective domain”

Affective means here in school terms:

  • learning be being there (in the school) with your fellow students
  • by being present and actively engaged
  • by forming opinions on what your learn
  • by integrating, nurturing and developing these values inside your personality
  • by being changed by what you learn
  • thus learning could be called “subjective”

The affective domain is in contrast with, or next to the cognitive domain because in the cognitive domain you could learn by yourself, just by reading, in a very academic way, and the knowledge acquired is supposed to be objective.

There is a third domain: the psycho motor domain.

This is the “making” part of this elective in a way. You will become “skilled” that is you need to teach your hands, but also in running the kites, you need to learn how to move….

Of course, can we really separate ourselves into “cognitive”, rational, objective, and “affective”, subjective, and behaviour, movement? No! We are beings, and have it all at the same time.

But we like to make models, analyse, reflect don’t we?

making tools – machines

bigger machines:

  • 3D printer
  • lasercutter
  • sewing machine

smaller tools:

  • glue gun
  • cutter
  • fine saw
  • scissors
  • ruler

for electronics and microcontroller:

  • soldering device
  • volt meter
  • different electronic tools
  • programming environment and laptop
  • programmer

ways of kite making

Prototyping: DIY, cheap, fast

making a small tetrahedral kite from straws:


Then you need more expensive materials, good sewing skills, experience with kite making, ideas, kite passion

please make 10 more before even be starting to be proud of yourself! This is really “a skill”.

and a lot of practice making

but you need to be very inspired for this one: (not my own)

special kite design challenge

very practicable

a kite needs to be foldable!

the door and the kite problem:

for this elective I propose the delta , which is foldable:

self made delta in flight:

bought delta in flight (video):

kite materials

cheap DIY

  • newspaper paper
  • plastic from bags etc
  • any light weight paper or material
  • BBQ sticks!
  • bamboo

Special material

  • carbon fiber
  • wooden sticks

kite shop

in the neighbourhood (Schiedam) – can also order online here

online: bv

also and

kite theory

nasa site:

kite tails

rotating tails, bought from shop (Beams kite) :

propellor making

we will start “propellers” folding rotating thing:

different shapes:

material: pet bottle plastic and sheet metal from tins

Beam’s example:

from metal cans: don’t cut your fingers and hand:

3D printing:


Other kinds of small wind turbines:

basic electronics

what is V – Volt – symbol V

what is Ampere – current – symbol I

what is resistance – symbol R

Law of Ohm connect V and I and R: V = I times R – this seems simple but can get complicated when several circuits are combined.

what is a circuit?

basic electronic components we will use

electonic components is series

electronic components in parallel

battery – producer of energy has a voltage

wire – is conductive – connects components

resistor – any component has a resistance and gives a drop in voltage

diode – something that lets current through or not depending on the direction – also has a voltage drop – LED

speaker – transfers energy into sound

electromotor – either makes rotation – movement – from voltage and current (electric energy) or makes electricity from rotation (as a generator)


voltage regulator – prevents voltage above a certain boundary, for instance 5V

rectifier – makes DC current from Alternating current

electro motors

typically designerish: exploring into a very specialised field … as naive as a baby….:-)

a bit clumsy:

see Beam’s experiment:

and try this one:

Making smallest DIY dynamo motor:

Advanced explaining and using a stepper motor:

Making generator from stepper motor: (using h-bridge, capacitor)

mini wind turbine: (a test if it is worth the trouble of printing)

(well commercially …. but for “learning”!!!!)

this is the turbine he is talking about:ÅMÅŽÕÑ&crid=1064Q9X69FI5I&keywords=Infinite+Air&qid=1654454500&sprefix=infinite+air%2Caps%2C158&sr=8-1

pretty big for our kites….

why not using these bigger motors???

advanced: electrometers are … complicated…

see also the links in the description of this video

so here we conclude … yeah, but is is very speculative….


a microcontroller can be programmed to open or close circuits

we will use this to try to send morse code from the kite

needs energy, which comes from the electrometer which is rotated by the wind

script for Attiny85 on kite:

For this elective – microcontrollers:

programmable as Arduino, but smaller and lighter:

programmable as Arduino, but smaller and lighter: (needs a programmer)

ordering microcontrollers, electronics

I order online

webshops which deliver fast: (in the Netherlands)

specially for electronics

electronics, Beam’s setup for a stepper motor

using a rectifier because of alternating current, then a voltage regulator:

using a script with a “watch dog timer” in the ATtiny85

the IKEA LJUSA shows how the rectifying circuit should be done in a “real energy harvesting device”:

energy harvesting

collecting small amounts of energy and transfer this into electricity

  • movement, vibration
  • temperature differences
  • solar energy
  • radiation energy, for example WFI
  • plant energy, like algae, or bacteria around roots of plants

what is “small”?

what to do with small amounts of energy?

  • collect data, like temperature, pollution
  • send data to a bigger device

very small devices, small batteries, specialised chips, for example LTC

very small energies: not something that charges your smartphone.

an old blog of Beam: e-textile summercamp workshop: Beam interaction station page:

applied in this elective: generate energy for sending a morse code for a LED

elective pictures

Beam’s picture collection on Kites&energy:

design and inventor sites on kites and energy: “the real”

Scottisch inventor:

Kite power systems:


Florian Bauer – kiteKraft blog:

kite design

Kite building archive:


Beam’s kite projects

Beam’s kite project in France:

Beam collaboration with Hans Was – poet – project “Woorden in de Wind”:

and this elective!