Participation in a KidWind Challenge does not happen without engaged coaches who have the energy to bring new topics and offer informed guidance to their students. We have collected some of our favorite resources to improve your own knowledge and also help your participants.
We host KidWind Challenge Training Workshops every year to prepare new teachers for the competition to come! Most of our training workshops:
- are free and open to all K-12 educators in the region
- require no previous knowledge of wind energy
- are a fun and interactive learning opportunity
- provide teachers with over $100 of materials, such as science kits and standards-based curriculum
If you're a teacher interested in taking your class to a KidWind Challenge, sign up for a free Challenge training workshop near you. If there aren't any in your area, not to worry - we have all the resources you need to teach yourself on our website! Or get in touch with us to see about organizing one for teachers in your area.
Participating in a KidWind Challenge does not have to be just an afterschool activity. Our partners at KidWind have developed a wind energy curriculum called WindWise; this series of activities and lessons is designed to integrate classroom learning with hands-on experience.
While it can be difficult to measure the exact "learning" of each and every student during the Challenge Event, we know that our curriculum aligns well with existing educational standards. Take a look at how the KidWind Challenge < a href="http://kwind.me/assets/challenge/NGSS-Standards_2014.pdf">measures up to standards like the Next Generation Science Standards.
Inquiry and science process
Students set up experiments and collect data on how well their turbine performs as they make design changes. They use both simple and sophisticated tools as they travel through the design, test, and evaluation processes.
A wind turbine uses many different systems (blades, generators, drivetrain, towers and loads) that all function together in the wind environment. To build a successful turbine, students will need to be analytical as they determine the major drivers of performance in each system, and understand how they influence one another.
Energy and energy transfer
At the KidWind Challenge, students build and refine an energy transformation device: moving air is transformed into rotating blades, which rotate a generator, which in turn transforms this movement into electrons which are converted into light, sound or motion.
During each step of this process, students focus on the forces acting upon the turbine, and must understand how energy works in order to optimize the transformation process.
Comprehending where our energy comes from is key in creating a responsible energy future. We cannot talk about how a wind turbine operates without thinking about the fundamentals of where wind comes from. Understanding the flow of wind and what causes it is vital to realizing the energy potential of the wind.
Human impacts of natural resource use
The understanding that humans contribute to environmental issues like climate change has required us to start thinking more holistically about where our energy comes from and where it goes. One of the major reasons society is looking to generate more energy from the wind is that wind power is a renewable resource that reduces carbon emissions. Students engage in lessons that illuminate costs of relying on conventional energy sources, and cover the materials necessary to have informed discussions about other energy source like wind.
The KidWind Challenge revolves around hands-on engineering and design to build and test a functional wind turbine. Students think critically to define the problem to be solved, design and evaluate proper solutions, and optimize their design to build the best turbine possible. There is always lots of tinkering, crafting, and good old trial-and-error involved, making the process – and the lessons extracted from it – memorable.