Monday, June 18, 2018
I had the opportunity to take the Kid Wind Challenge program to the 2018 Midwest Renewable Energy Associations (MREA) Energy Fair and spend three days in the Educators Tent there letting visitors design, build and test their blades in a wind tunnel.
This post is going to take you through the process and let you see a part of what I experienced. As a retired educator I can tell you how it feels when you see kids, parents and grandparents engaged in a hands on learning activity to design, build and test their designs. Then analyze the results, consider multiple options, make decisions of how to redesign then re-test and go through the process several times to achieve higher and higher performance. I will tell you the feeling is priceless!
On the table you can see the five blue Kid Wind gear heads on towers set up. There were gear ratios of 1:2 1:4 1:8 1:16 and 1:32 for the participants to choose from and work with.
Participants ran their blades and recorded the output. Then they could go back and make any changes they though might improve the output, ie. change the pitch, more blades, different gear ratio etc. and test again. It was a challenge and they wanted to see their output go up. When it did they wanted to continue the process and did!
The participant producing the highest number of Joules in 30 seconds each day won a KidWind Basic Wind Experiment Kit (KW-BWX) as shown in the picture.
And then, as Paul Harvey always said, "And now for the rest of the story."
Yes, there is more. Remember Charlie B. with his 27.92 j output on Sunday? He had tried his hand at building a blade set the day before. When he left Saturday he said he was going to come back and try again. Well Charlie B. was a watcher and a thinker. Even though when he came back Sunday the 2 pm deadline had passed and Charlie D. had already won the KW Kit. Charlie B. from Merrill, WI wanted to give it another try. And did he ever! You can see him above working on his 12 blade version.
Charlie B. From Merrill, WI produced 46.93 j the all time high for the three days of the Kid Wind Challenge!
So I have decided to award Charlie B. the first "George Rothlisberg Kid Wind Kit". Charlie is a great example of the KW spirit and determination to succeed. Charlie says he wants to start a Kid Wind team and compete in a challenge in Madison, WI in the 2018-2019 school year. Congratulations Charlie B.
Footnote: George Rothlisberg was a good friend and fellow teacher of mine for many years in the Darlington School District. George was born and raised in Merrill, WI. His family owned and operated a small family grocery store in Merrill for many years. George supported education and was a friend to all the students he worked with giving it his all. Sadly he passed away in 2017.
Thanks to Mike Arquin, ReCharge Labs and the Kid Wind Challenge organization for their support and making this all possible.
More outstanding performers...