Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Kid Wind Challenge in Madison, WI

What do you see?

What I see is a neat hands on delivery devise for lots of serious fun learning S.T.E.M.

Let me back up a bit. Education and teaching has and continues to evolve. In the 70's I was a high school Shop Teacher. Years later I was called a Vocational Education Teacher and then in the new melliuim became know as a Technology Education Instructor. Likewise you had Vocational Schools that turned into Technical Schools and now they are called Two Year Community Colleges.

What teachers taught also changed (well at least the acronyms changed) and teachers were run through many hours of in service learning what was the latest (someone in education had just gotten their Phd on). First I remember it was the 3 R's (Read'n Writ'n and Arithmetic). Always bugged me that out of the three words only one of them started with the letter R. Go figure? The cycle of acronyms went on and on over the years. The 3 R's became Rigor, Relevance and Relationships. Then S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)...

My wife was a primary teacher and I always remember a conversation we had about learning at the elementary level. You know the time when 90% of the students say they love school and hate to miss a single day. (As a side note by the time we got them to high school the "love for being in school" had changed a bit.) Learning I said boiled down to classroom discipline and control. My view was that I could look through the door and tell right away if learning was going on. Classroom organized and neat as a pin? Check. Everyone in their seats? Check. Everyone with a book open or papers out? Check. Everyone quiet and on task? Check. OK, learning going on here (heck I could have subbed for the principal!) carry on. My wife then pointed me to a classroom filled with literally 1,000 things! Posters, models, fish, hamsters, puzzles, blocks, colors, paints, paper, scissors, glue, balls, games, beanbag chairs, a bathtub, a rocking chair, a carpet, maps, globes, books, a camera, pictures, calendars etc. etc. on and on you get the picture. Things hanging on strings from every light across the room. And then you see the students. There in little groups. Hunkered down around something. The teacher may be in the group or in another corner with other students. They are talking with each other in a give and take fashion or putting together a store.  Except the group of four where one is reading the story she had written about her trip to the other three. What looks to me like pure confusion and complete chaos. My wife said to me, "That's what real learning looks like." and that stuck with me! The students were having, "serious fun" and learning.

So where am I going with this? Kid Wind And Renewable Energy (K.W.A.R.E.) For those of you in education I couldn't help myself, I just had to do it.

Have a look at the 2018 Kid Wind Challenge held at the Wisconsin Energy Institute on the UW Madison, Wisconsin campus this past Saturday, May 3rd. I'll comment on the pictures.
You tell me what you see...

Why am I doing this during my 8th hour study hall every Tuesday and Thursday?

 Sure looks like a nice day outside.

Make some changes and try again.

What are we looking at?

 OK, that should do it!

Sail cars? Nobody said anything about sail cars.

Ha, imagine that.

I am going to go the farthest, just watch.

I would try this.

VAWT? Next they will want me to build an EV or SDHW unit or PV system to feed into a Micro-Grid. Gees does this never end? I hope not.

That's what I see.  K.W.A.R.E.    :-)