Two Southeast Alaska high school teams placed first in their divisions during the 2014 Alaska KidWind Challenge.
“Team Turbine,” consisting of a single high school student from Angoon High School, and “Team ANT Squad,” a team of three high school students from Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, scored first place in their respective divisions for highest power output in the competition.
The Alaska KidWind Challenge is sponsored by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Center for Energy and Power with contributions from The Shell Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The challenge is an Alaska-specific statewide competition in which students use innovation, teamwork and creativity to design a wind turbine, which is then tested against turbines designed by other participating schools across the state.
“It was inspiring to observe the creativity and problem-solving strategies that the students used to come up with their designs. They helped each other out and took pride in their creations as they tested them and described them to me,” said Christopher Pike, 2014 KidWind Challenge judge and staff researcher with ACEP. “Each of the winning schools brought their own twist to the competition, which really helped them stand out. The Angoon High School students admirably mentored the elementary students in performing their own KidWind Challenge, and the Sitka students utilized a 3D printer to print their designed turbine blades. Both schools should be very proud of their level of participation. It’s great to see the next generation of Alaskans at work.”
The challenge focuses on the needs and logistical challenges of rural Alaska. Student teams design and construct a model wind turbine. Teams first design a base, then, after conducting a little research and sketching a few drafts, they determine the size, shape, material and number of blades to create. The goal is to maximize efficiency of their turbines.
“This year’s student and teacher participants in the KidWind Challenge demonstrated their engagement with energy and the environment by bringing high levels of creativity and resourcefulness to the competition,” observed UAF research professor George Roe, an ACEP affiliate. “It will be exciting to see how they continue in their exploration of sustainable solutions for local, regional and global challenges, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to continue walking with some of them on that journey.”
Jim Parkin and Matt Hunter, teachers of the winning teams, were invited to attend the Rural Energy Conference in Fairbanks on Sept. 23. All participating students in the 2014 challenge receive certificates recognizing their participation and hard work, and the two top-placing schools received a pizza party for their classroom.