KidWind Challenge 2019

280+ U.S. students put their handcrafted wind turbines to the test at AWEA

Being one of the best in the nation was the goal each of the 58 middle school teams and 24 high school teams set out to achieve while competing at the 2019 National KidWind Challenge in Houston May 21-23 as part of AWEA’s annual Windpower conference and exhibition. Over the course of the two-day event, these highly skilled students were tested on their knowledge of renewable energy, their design and problem solving prowess, and their wind turbines’ energy output by a panel of wind industry professionals. These judges determined which teams were the best of the best. The highest-scoring teams are:

Middle School Age Division (Grades 4-8)

  1. Gone with the Wind from Tabb Middle School in Yorktown, Va.
  2. Zephyr from Glasgow Middle School in Lincolnia, Va.
  3. Breezy Bees from Darlington Elementary-Middle School in Darlington, Wis.
  4. SC Winnders from Sand Creek Middle School from Albany, N.Y.
  5. The Single Bladies from Darlington Elementary-Middle School in Darlington, Wis.

High School Age Division (Grades 9-12)

  1. Breezy Buffoons from Lake Pleasant Central School in Speculator, N.Y.
  2. Full Throttle from Henley High School in Klamath Falls, Ore.
  3. Silver Bullet from Coachella Valley High School in Thermal, Calif.
  4. Fox Works from Fox Chapel Area High School in Pittsburgh, Pa.
  5. Oxford AirSharks from Oxford High School in Oxford, Kan.

Team scores were based on their performance of four tasks. Teams tested their wind turbine’s performance and energy output in the KidWind wind tunnel. They then presented their design choices, challenges, and successes to the judges. To further test their knowledge and skill, teams completed a wind and renewable energy quiz, as well as an “Instant Challenge” during which teams had 30 minutes to complete a surprise activity to test their problem-solving, team work, and engineering skills. Each of the five top-performing teams in each age division received $250 in prize money and bragging rights.

DSC00925

Sisters Ndeye (left) and Ndioda Fall, of HSHE High School in Orangeburg, S.C., work on their windmill at the KidWind competition.—Electrical Apparatus photo.

“Every year, I’m impressed by the ingenuity and passion our national qualifying teams put into their designs, but the level of excitement our teams – and their fan clubs! – had this year was like no other,” said Michael Arquin, founder of KidWind. “We hope the fun and success these students experienced during the challenge encourages them to pursue renewable energy or engineering as a career.”

The national hands-on engineering competition took place in the George R. Brown Convention Center Grand Ballroom during the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) WINDPOWER 2019 conference on May 21-23, 2019. It was the culminating event for the KidWind Challenge season, which consisted of 32 local challenges across the country over the course of four months. Students competed in their local event or the Online KidWind Challenge to qualify for the National KidWind Challenge.

In addition to participating students, 250 coaches and family members also attended to cheer on their teams. While in town, KidWind hosted a team bowling party at Lucky Strike Houston and took the group of approximately 500 people to a Houston Astros baseball game at Minute Maid Park. Some of the group came from rural and high-needs areas, making it the first major league baseball game they ever attended.

Since the first event in 2009, the KidWind Challenge and its partners have hosted 227 local challenges in 26 states and five national challenges, impacting roughly 35,000 students. This year’s KidWind Challenge was made possible with the help of many volunteers and the generous contributions from national sponsors, including EDP Renewables North America, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pattern Energy, and Vernier Software & Technology.

For more information about the KidWind Challenge, visit: kidwindchallenge.org.

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