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Project Spotlight: Kid Wind

Once a year, children from the Bristol-Warren Regional School District come to Roger Williams University to take part in a project known as Kid Wind. Here, the students are able to learn about renewable energy sources while building and testing wind turbines made from recycled materials.

(RWU engineering and education majors teaching students more about engineering design through interactive projects)

They are not doing this alone, however. This program is made possible by the RWU Campaign for Civic Scholars as well as the TPI Composites of Warren, Rhode Island. RWU students in Professor Li-Ling Yang’s education class and Professor Majia Benitz’s engineering class will be partners for this event as well. This provides them with real-life experience in their field of study as they not only teach the younger generation about alternative energy, but they learn how to engineer and build wind turbines that work efficiently. “This project is about more than just supporting the need for engineering education in local classrooms,” said Professor Maija Benitz during last year’s event, “It deepens our RWU students learning through experiential, hands-on community engagement.” In order to make sure that the children understand the material being presented to them, both the education and engineering students must come together to create a lesson plan that is grade-level appropriate and meets the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


In late January, the fourth and fifth-grade teachers of the Bristol Warren Regional School District came to RWU to partake in a day-long interactive workshop. They were introduced to the engineering design and wind energy curriculum that Roger Williams students will begin to implement later in the semester.

(Fourth and fifth graders working with an RWU student to adjust their wind turbine design)

Currently, the engineering and education students at RWU are working in small teams to create and present their first lessons for the fourth-grade classrooms in the district. Toward the end of the project, each of the teams will have presented five lessons covering both wind energy and the engineering design process. The last three lessons will focus more on the children working in small teams to design, build, and test their own model-scale wind turbines. “In the meantime, my engineering students have each chosen a unique site in the ocean where they will analyze measured wind speeds and then design a full-scale offshore wind turbine by writing their own computer code,” says Professor Benitz. “I’m looking forward to learning about each student’s site and unique wind turbine design!”


The Kid Wind event is scheduled to take place on Friday, May 1, 2020. We are looking forward to what the students have designed this year, and are excited to teach them more about engineering design!


To learn more about last year’s Kid Wind event, click here.


Author: Kenzie Rose

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