Wind for Schools in the News

KidWind Challenge (2017):

Dear Educators,

On April 28, 2017, the Wind for Schools team at Northern Arizona University will be hosting our 1st Annual KidWind Challenge event on the Flagstaff campus of NAU.  Our Flagstaff event is part of an official national network of KidWind Challenge competitions. The winners can go to the national competition in Anaheim, CA, in late May, co-located with the national WindPower professional conference.

The KidWind Challenge is a competition for 4th-8th and 9th-12th grade students to design a wind turbine to generate the most electricity possible.  Working with their teamsahead of time, students will design and build small wind turbines. On the day of the challenge, they will have the opportunity to test it in our wind tunnel.


The KidWind Challenge is a great opportunity to foster the curiosity of the next generation of students around renewable energy, improving both their awareness and preparedness for careers in related industries. 


We are also hosting Teacher Trainings to help teachers understand the KidWind Challenge and what it entails.  We set up two days with identical trainings with different times to try to accommodate busy teacher schedules.  Teachers do not need to attend either, but it will help them get up to speed with the challenge, as well as offer some insight on how they can teach wind energy in the classroom.



KidWind Challenge Teacher Training

Thursday, February 16, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Physical Sciences (Bldg 19), Room 111

Northern Arizona University


In addition, we will have a booth set up at Flagstaff's Community STEM Celebration in March. In addition to having our wind tunnel on site, we will also have materials available for teachers, parents and students to design wind turbines so that they can test them in the wind tunnel.  


4th Annual Flagstaff Community STEM Celebration

Monday, March 6th, 5:00 - 7:30 PM

NAU's Walkup Skydome


KidWind Challenge Event

Friday, April 28, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM (Times to be finalized)

Location TBD

Northern Arizona University


Additional Information Below:


Register for our event.


How to get involved with the KidWind Challenge (details on rules, coaching resources, etc.): 


2017 KidWind Challenge Rules: 


Link to FREE wind turbine lessons to assist in implementing turbine design into your classroom curriculum:

WindWise Education Curriculum


- Lesson 8: How Does A Windmill Work? - (This is the "MacGyver" activity)

- Lesson 9: How Does A Generator Work?

- Lesson 10: Which Blades Are Best?

- Lesson 11: How Can I Design Better Blades?


Thewhole WindWise curriculumincludes 19 lessons covering all topics from energy basics to wildlife to siting challenges.


For questions, please contact Todd Traen at or 507.828.7097.



Upward Bound

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 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.

upward bound photo 2
upward bound photo 1
Students build windmills with the Arizona Wind for Schools program

The Wind for Schools project also organized an “energy engineering career night” featuring four presenters, which was attended by 48 high school students.

Middle School students from the Boys & Girls club attending summer camp at Willow Bend Environmental Education Center also built windmills and learned about wind energy from Wind for School staff.

The Wind for Schools project is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 

For more information about the Wind for Schools program, contact Karin Wadsack, State Facilitator, at 928-523-0715 or

Check it out! We are also featured on Flagstaff's STEM City blog , Dynamic and Active Systems and Arizona Wind for Schools.

upward bound photo 3

Wind for Schools news in previous years


Green NAU Blog: NAU Install
Green NAU Youtube Video: NAU Install
Department of Energy Report: Orme School Install
Navajo Times: St. Michael Install
Inside NAU: Karin Wadsack wins DOE Award
Department of Energy Report: 11th Annual States Summit
National Renewable Energy Lab: Native American Schools
Salt River Project: REIF Awards 


Williams News: Install at Williams Elementary/Middle School 

Williams News: Williams Install Highlight 

Department of Energy Report: Williams Install 
Department of Energy Report: Ponderosa High Install 
AZ Daily Sun "Festival of Science" 
Inside NAU: NAU Skystream Installation 
Department of Energy Report: NAU Install 


AZ Daily Sun "Teaching About Energy a Breeze"