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April 1, 2019
Kansas students qualify for national KidWind Challenge in Houston
Six student teams have earned the opportunity to represent Kansas at the national KidWind Challenge in Houston, Texas next month. The winners were named Saturday at the conclusion of the state KidWind finals held at the Kansas History Museum.
Kansas KidWind State Finals Winners
| 4-8th Grade Category
|1st Place - AEKG, Beloit Jr. High School|
|2nd Place - Paola Middle 1, Paola Middle School|
|3rd Place - Electric Four, Lebo Homeschool Co-Op|
| 9-12th Grade Category
|1st Place - Oxford Air Sharks, Oxford High School|
|2nd Place - Thunderhawks, Wheatland High School|
|3rd Place - CBCR9, Sterling High School|
To qualify for the state final, each team had to first capture one of the top two spots in their age division during regional competitions held in Manhattan, Great Bend, Burlington and Oakley. To prepare for competition, the teams study wind power then build a turbine using the design and materials of their choice. During the challenge, each team’s turbine is put to the test in a 48" × 48" wind tunnel at a wind speed of approximately 3.5-5 meters per second (m/s).
Team members are judged on their knowledge, design, and documentation as well as performance testing in the wind tunnel. Among the judges at this year’s event, was Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers.
“I enjoyed judging at KidWind and I’m encouraged to see so many students learning technology and STEM skills”, said Rogers, who also spent time visiting with teams prior to their performance testing. "It is important that our students are prepared for the jobs of the future and this contest targets the skills needed to excel in the 21st century global economy."
The other judges included Matt Miller from KSNT-TV, Brian Plymesser from Enel Green Power North America, Lynn Retz and Amber Smith from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), and Bruce Snead from Kansas State University Engineering Extension.
Overall, the number of KidWind participants tripled this year over the previous year growing from 49 to 159 students. Organizers attribute the growth to several factors.
“By offering regional competitions throughout the state, more schools were able to participate,” said Lynn Retz, KCC Energy Director. “In addition, interest in the science of wind energy is growing due to the volume of wind farm construction in Kansas communities.”
Additional KidWind sponsors include Enel Green Power North America, Westar Energy, and NextEra Energy.