How do you get the rising generation juiced up over wind power? Challenge them to design and construct their own wind turbines with the goal of creating an efficient, highly functional and maybe even elegant device, the way the the Wind Energy Foundation and the KidWind Project — a program sponsored by Wind for Schools — do with the KidWind Challenge. Participating teams recently convened at the second annual USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., where the winners of this year’s KidWind Challenge were announced.
The winning KidWind teams for each age group — based on the trifecta of turbine power performance, turbine construction and knowledge of wind energy topics — are as follows: for high school, National Cathedral School (D.C.) took first place, Desert Mirage High School (Thermal, Calif.) took second and Langley High School (McLean, Va.) took third; and for middle school, J. Michael Lunsford Middle School (Chantilly, Va.) took first place, Roland Park Elementary Middle School (Baltimore, Md.) took second place and Jefferson Middle School (D.C.) took third.
In addition to the kids actually competing in the KidWind Challenge, tens of thousands of K-12 students descended on the Washington Convention Center for the event, overwhelming the KidWind booth. (We imagine that the opportunity to assemble their own miniature turbine blades and have them tested them in an actual wind tunnel was a serious draw.)
“We were overwhelmed by their interest in wind energy,” Michael Arquin, KidWind project director, said in a statement. He noted that the key to wind power education is to give students an opportunity to engage with the materials and to learn about energy transformation. “We want to immerse students in the science of how a wind turbine works through the process of design and redesign. Beyond that, the goal is to inspire teachers to include renewable energy in their science activities.”
More on the KidWind challenges is available online.