TOPEKA – The 2024 Kansas KidWind Challenge kicks off this week with more teams expected to participate than ever before. The annual event has grown from one regional challenge with 14 teams in 2016 to six regional events with an anticipated total of 95 teams from 48 schools competing this year.
The first regional challenge will be held in Hutchinson on Tuesday, Feb. 13 with 11 schools participating. Five more regional events will be held in Manhattan, Burlington, Dodge City, Colby and Overland Park. All events are open to the public. Times and locations are available at https://www.kcc.ks.gov/images/PDFs/education/KidWindChallengeEventGuide_2024.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.
Student teams work together to design, build and test a wind turbine using the materials of their choice. Turbine blades have been made with everything from soda cans to vinyl records – no two look alike. Each team’s turbine will be put to the test in a 48” × 48” wind tunnel at a wind speed of approximately 3.0 meters/second (6.7 miles/hour).
Students compete by age categories: 4th – 8th grade or 9th – 12th grade. Scoring is based on turbine performance, a knowledge quiz, a presentation to judges where the team explains its design process, and an instant challenge. The winning teams at regional events advance to the state finals on April 13 in Salina. State winners are invited to the national competition in Minneapolis, Minn. Last year two Kansas teams earned national titles.
“KidWind is a fantastic hands-on opportunity that allows students to tinker and experiment with wind turbine designs. They experience the thrill of scientific discovery as their designs are validated through performance testing, and they hone their public-speaking skills as they present their turbine design to a panel of judges,” explained David Carter, Director of the Kansas Energy Program at K-State Engineering Extension.
Kansas KidWind is an energy-related STEM education event from the Kansas Corporation Commission and K-State Engineering Extension made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
More information about KidWind is available at https://www.kcc.ks.gov/energy-education/kidwind