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Engineering Extension's Kansas KidWind Challenge advances six student teams to national event

Friday, April 8, 2022

KidWind Challenge

Students on the SunFloWin team adjust the pitch on their turbine blades during the wind tunnel performance event at the recent Kansas KidWind Challenge. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — Student teams from schools in Beloit, Centralia, Dighton, Oakley, Seneca and Sterling will represent Kansas in May at the National KidWind Challenge in San Antonio.

The teams advanced to the national competition after earning top-three finishes in their divisions at the Kansas KidWind Challenge on April 2 in Topeka. The event is sponsored by the Kansas Energy Program in Kansas State University's Engineering Extension Service, in partnership with the Kansas Corporation Commission. This year's competition featured approximately 80 students from 22 schools throughout the state, including eight teams of fourth through eighth graders and 13 teams of ninth through 12th graders.

Each team had to research, design, and build its own wind turbine to test in a wind tunnel that is 4 feet by 4 feet. Each team was awarded points in four areas: turbine performance, a knowledge quiz, an instant challenge and a judge's panel, where the team members have to present their design-and-build process.

The top three finishers in the fourth through eighth grade division:

• First place — Gerald la Turbina team from Beloit Junior-High School, USD 273, earning 86.7 points out of a possible 100. Team members are Charlie Burke, Luke Cheney, Jayc Darnall and Joel Rexroat. The team is coached by Christie Fouts. This team also achieved the highest energy output in its division with 106.4 joules.

• Second place — KO CO Windfighters from Centralia Schools, USD 380, earning 83.5 points. Team members are Kaylee Olberding and Kalin Olberding. Team coach is Karla Kramer.

• Third place — Wind Chill from Dighton Middle School, USD 482, earning 78.7 points. Team members are Hank Davis, Cordell Davis, Westin Johnson, Charlie Vogel and Rangler Price. Team coaches are Tatum Vogel and Diana Paris.

The top-three finishers in the ninth through 12 grade division:

• First place — Turbine Turners from Oakley High School, USD 274, earning 91.2 points. Team members are Ian Fink, Kush Patel, and Corbin Bockwinkel. Team coach is Morgan Berkgren. This team also achieved the highest energy output in its division with 72.9 joules.

• Second place — Windstars from Nemaha Central High School, USD 115, earning 79.3 points. Team members are Kaden Peterson and Jack Macke. Team coach is Karla Kramer.

• Third place — Wind Gladiators from Sterling High School, USD 376, earning 79.2 points. Team members are Katie Conrad, Maddie Fales, Lanae Welty and Jeremiah Clark. Team coaches are Sydney Wilson and Wendy Calderwood.

Receiving special recognition with the Judges' Favorite Award were Team Blue from Hutchinson STEM Magnet, Allen Elementary School, USD 308, for the fourth through eighth grade division, and Osage City High School, USD 420, for the ninth through 12 grade division.

"The KidWind Challenge is a great exercise in active learning," said David Carter, director of the Kansas Energy Program. "We pay close attention to the teams' improvements from the regional to state challenge; some teams improved turbine performance by 248% and turbine efficiency by 955%."


David Carter

News tip

Beloit, Centralia, Dighton, Hutchinson, Oakley, Osage City, Seneca and Sterling


Kansas Energy Program