YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2013/2014



Highlighted Strategy

Tinkering: Learning Through Making
One of the strategies highlighted in this YAL Conference workshop is Tinkering, where students learn through making and experimenting. 

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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer


YAL Presenter Unit 2013/2014

Subjects: English
Grade Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Posted: 2014, CCSS, Common Core State Standards
Unit Created by: Germania Solórzano

What makes this a good YAL choice...

I chose this book because: The inspirational story of how William builds a windmill, fosters all the qualities of a strong learner that we want to foster in our students. He was engaged in his own INQUIRY (how to build a windmill), it was a rigorous endeavor, he had an intense relationship to his project, the project was certainly relevant to him (they had no electricity). William’s experience also reminds me of the Academic Mindsets laid out by the Chicago Consortium for Educational Research. Finally, it’s a well-written book. William is a likable real life character, and he was only 15 when he built the windmill. The book can be read with a focus on memoir, on social studies, and/or on science — Germania Solórzano


YAL Conference Workshop Description
The Inquiry of Windmills: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Germania Solórzano, Presenter

William Kamkwamba was a teenager with very few resources when he created his first windmill. Forced to drop out of school in Malawi because the family could not afford his school fees after surviving a horrible famine, William began to spend his time at a library. Here he discovered a picture of a windmill that inspired him to create his own. We will use William's learning as a model for inquiry and look at the processes by which he was able to create a working windmill of his own. This workshop will focus on the problem-solving of inquiry. The text is suitable for an English, Science or Social studies classroom, depending on what aspects of the story you focus on. For our purposes, we will focus on inquiry — specifically gathering data, identifying patterns and constructing knowledge. — Workshop Description for YAL 2013


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