Guest Blog by Karin Wadsack, Project Director, Northern Arizona University
The Arizona Wind for Schools project partnered with the NAU’s Upward Bound programs and the Boys & Girls Club summer camp at Willow Bend in June to teach 48 young students about wind energy through hands-on engineering design activities.
Fourteen students in the Upward Bound Math/Science academy also worked with Wind for Schools to build windmills and learn basics about wind energy. In particular, while researching and analyzing various forms of renewable energy, students had the opportunity to move away from the theoretical and put their knowledge to work. Students were given a task, a collection of materials from which to build, and work time.
“It was a powerful experience seeing students working together, going through iterations in their design, and completing the assigned task,” said Jacob Lesandrini, instructional specialist for Upward Bound at NAU. “Students not only had to have the background knowledge in renewable energy, but they also had to understand how to tackle a problem and work in a team. It’s exactly the sort of work they can expect in college and beyond, and we were very excited they had this opportunity.“
Wind for Schools project director Karin Wadsack and mechanical engineering undergraduate student Tessa Palazzolo worked with the high school students over the course of several lessons and activities.
The Wind for Schools project is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.