Wind for Schools project brings wind energy education to classrooms

Wind for Schools project brings wind energy education to classrooms

Wind Powering America and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) launched the Wind for Schools project in 2005 to bring wind energy technologies to students of all ages and give them a platform to launch clean-energy careers. The program also helps engage communities across the nation in a wind energy discussion and develop a knowledge base for wind energy within classrooms.

Currently, Wind for Schools projects are supported in 11 states (AK, AZ, CO, ID, KS, MT, NC, NE, PA, SD, VA).

The Wind for Schools project aims to install small wind turbines at rural elementary and secondary schools (hosts) while developing Wind Application Centers at higher education institutions.

For K-12 schools, teacher training and hands-on curricula are implemented at each host school to bring the wind turbine into the classroom through interactive and interschool wind-related research tasks. This aspect is completed by implementing age-appropriate curricula produced by the NEED project and KidWind. This hands-on, interactive curricula is supported through teacher training workshops in each of the states, sponsored by the Wind for Schools project. The project also provides teacher training science kits for use in the classroom. Wind Powering America also provides links to additional teaching materials.

At the university level the project is aimed at educating college students in wind energy applications with a focus on hands-on small wind project development through classes and field work. The students at the Wind Application Centers assist in the assessment, design, and installation of the small wind systems at the host schools, acting as wind energy consultants. They also participate in-class work and other engineering projects in the wind energy field, preparing them to enter the wind workforce once they graduate. Curricula is developed and shared among the Wind Application Centers, each typically focusing on specific technical areas that are the strengths of the respective professors and institutions.

Southwest Windpower is the original turbine supplier for Wind Powering America’s Wind for Schools program and offers participants a 40 percent discount on the Skystream turbine. Since partnering with Wind for Schools in 2005, Southwest Windpower has assisted in bringing the Skystream 3.7 turbine to schools in 11 states.

Additionally, Southwest Windpower offers educational discounts on a case-by-case basis for Skystream, AIR and Whisper turbine installations at schools that meet certain criteria. To find out if you qualify, fill out the Southwest Windpower Special Pricing Application.

Although the Wind for Schools project is supported in a limited number of states, it is possible for other schools or even whole states to adopt the methodology and apply it locally. Through the Wind for Schools affiliate projects, K-12 schools or whole state-based projects can leverage all of the existing materials to implement activities in their areas. Learn more about the two affiliate projects.

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