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K-State Today

March 31, 2022

Engineering Extension hosts statewide KidWind Challenge on April 2

Submitted by David A. Carter

Students anxiously awaiting turbine performance results

In partnership with the Kansas Corporation Commission, the Kansas Energy Program in K-State Engineering Extension will host the Kansas statewide KidWind Challenge at the Hotel Topeka at City Center on Saturday, April 2.

The challenge includes approximately 80 students from 22 schools throughout Kansas. Nine fourth-eighth grade teams and 13 nine-12 grade teams will vie for the opportunity to advance to the national KidWind Challenge in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The first- and second-place teams from each age division will advance to the national KidWind Challenge. This will be the largest statewide KidWind Challenge hosted by the Kansas Energy Program. The public is welcome to attend. If you have never seen a KidWind Challenge in action, please stop by.

The 22 teams at the statewide KidWind Challenge first advanced from one of six regional KidWind Challenges held throughout Kansas. In total, the regional challenges hosted 320 participants, including 179 students on 56 teams from 25 schools.

Each team researches, designs and builds its own wind turbine to test in a 4-by-4 foot wind tunnel. Kansas Energy Program personnel measure the energy output in Joules and calculate the efficiency of the wind turbine. Each team is 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 highest energy output achieved by a ninth-12th-grade team was 60.9 Joules by the Wind Gladiators from Sterling High School; the highest output achieved by a fourth-eighth-grade team was 107.6 Joules by the Gerald la Turbina from Beloit Junior-Senior High School. Every team advancing to the statewide KidWind Challenge had at least three weeks to improve its wind turbine performance.

KidWind is an annual competition where student teams design, build and test their own wind turbines before competing in a regional event for a chance to move on to state and national competitions. The KidWind Challenge is a fun, hands-on, STEM-related event that features problem solving, creativity and teamwork. Any student in 4-12 grade is eligible to participate. There is no restriction on team size, but three to five students per team is recommended. Teams can come from public schools, home schools and after-school clubs such as 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc. 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.

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