How Does Wind Power Work? Hands-On KidWind Challenge Trains Students in Renewable Energy

I’ve been passionate about educational programs for sustainability from sustainablog’s earliest days, so I wasn’t surprised at all to discover that I’d written about Minneapolis-based educational company KidWind way back in 2006. Founded by former science teacher Michael Arquin, KidWind has developed an impressive array of educational programming both for science educators wanting to introduce their students to renewable energy, and for students themselves. The KidWind Challenge, the organization’s signature program, gives students a chance to compete in building small, working wind turbines.  KidWind plans to host 35 of these programs across the United States in 2014, as well as two international events. Take a look at this report from last year’s event in Alberta, Canada, to get a sense of how competition works:

No doubt, the kids have a great time with this (and I’m betting teachers do, too). More importantly, though, this is a great way for kids to learn math, physics, engineering, etc. – younger students pick up concepts and information much better if they can “get their hands dirty.”

Of course, running events like these, as well as hosting teacher training workshops, and creating and maintaining online resources for students and teachers, isn’t cheap: KidWind notes that a single Challenge event cost at least $2,000. In order to make sure that they’re able to host all of the events  planned for the coming year, they’ve launched an indiegogo campaign to raise $70,000 for the KidWind Challenge and supporting materials. As I learned from their press materials, a donation as small as $5 can get one student started on an educational journey involving renewable energy.

Interested in helping? Head over to the campaign, check out the other information they’ve shared about the program, as well as the specific program elements you’ll fund at certain donation levels. If you decide to kick in, let us know, and tell us what inspired you… Of course, if you’ve ever been a part of any KidWind events, let us know about your experience.

Featured image credit: screen capture from “KidWind Challenge 2013” video

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