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K-State Today

February 12, 2020

K-State Engineering Extension kicks off six KidWind Challenges with inaugural Kansas City Regional KidWind Challenge

Submitted by David Carter

Student Team Troubleshooting Their Turbine at Manhattan KidWind Challenge

The Kansas Energy Program housed at K-State Engineering Extension conducts its first of six KidWind Challenges throughout the state at the Green Tech Academy, Olathe West High School, Feb. 12. This is the first time the Kansas Energy Program has conducted a KidWind Challenge in the Kansas City area. The challenge has attracted five student teams from three Kansas City schools.

Overall, the science behind wind energy has captured the attention of Kansas students and boosted the number of competitors in the state's KidWind Challenge from 17 teams in 2018 to 70 teams this year. The increased number of participants prompted the addition of the fifth regional competition in Olathe. Regional events begin on Feb. 12 and continue through March 6 culminating in a state competition on April 4.

KidWind is an annual competition where student teams build and test their own wind turbines, then compete in a regional event for a chance to move on to state and national competitions. The events are part of the Energy Education partnership between the Kansas Corporation Commission and K-State Engineering Extension with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Enel Green Power North America and EDP Renewables are major corporate sponsors for the KidWind Challenges.

KidWind has experienced fantastic growth in the state of Kansas, increasing from 17 teams and eight schools in 2018 to 70 teams and 43 schools in 2020.

"The program provides a hands-on opportunity that allows students to tinker and experiment with wind turbine designs. They experience the thrill of scientific discovery as their designs are validated through performance testing, and they hone their public-speaking skills as they present their turbine design to a panel of judges," said David Carter, director of the Kansas Energy Program at K-State Engineering Extension.

Teams compete by age group, fourth through eighth grades or ninth through 12th grades, with three to five students per team — recommended. At each regional competition, the top two teams in each age group advance to the state finals. State winners move on to the national competition in Denver. The complete schedule of events appears below. All events are open to the public.

Region date and location: 

  • Kansas City, Feb. 12, Olathe, Olathe West High School. 
  • Northeast, Feb. 20, Manhattan, Unger Complex.
  • Southwest, Feb. 25, Dodge City, Village Square Mall. 
  • Northwest, Feb. 27, Oakley, NW Kansas Educational Service Center. 
  • Southeast, March 6, Burlington, Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant. 
  • State Finals, April 4, Topeka, Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers.
  • National Finals, June 1-4, Denver.

More information about KidWind, visit the website or contact David Carter at 785-532-4998.