The Arizona Wind for Schools project partnered with the
NAU’s Upward Bound programs and the Willow Bend Boys & Girls Club summer
camp in June to teach 48 young students about wind energy through hands-on
engineering design activities.
Wind for Schools worked with Upward Bound’s summer program
to engage high school students in learning about wind energy, energy physics,
electronics and economics. Twenty-one
high school soon-to-be juniors, from across Northern Arizona, built windmills,
performed an economic assessment of the energy usage of their homes and
classrooms, and calculated the available energy in food products before testing
out a bicycle generator. The students, who spent five weeks on NAU’s campus this
summer learning about climate change and energy science and engineering,
participated in these activities as part of a special partnership between the
Wind for Schools program and Upward Bound. 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
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.