KidWind Challenge Sparks Interest in Wind Energy

June 12, 2024

The KidWind Challenge happened for the first time in the state of Louisiana earlier this year, and students are already looking ahead to next year. The KidWind Challenge is a fun and engaging way for kids to learn about problem solving and science through the lens of wind and solar energy.

First of its Kind in Louisiana

Dr. Anne Case Hanks, who is the Director of ULM’s School of Sciences, brought the KidWind Challenge to Louisiana.

Seventeen teams of middle school students participated in the event this year, which involves building a wind turbine from everyday materials.

KidWind Challenge brings science and engineering to life and requires students to use engineering design. Opportunities like this help to excite students in STEM. This innovative event would not be possible without Pattern Energy and the SCILS partnership with Louisiana Tech,” Dr. Hanks explains in a recent media release.

She says she hopes to include high school students next year and to incorporate more of the activities and challenges that KidWind has to offer.

KidWind Challenge

A Whole New Experience

KNOE News spoke with some of the KidWind Challenge competitors and learned that students could use different kinds of materials to build their wind turbine, like cardboard, plastic, and thin pieces of wood.

One student said that they learned how to use different kinds of materials to achieve the goal of getting the wind to catch onto them to spin the turbine blades. They learned this by readjusting their design if the first attempt wasn’t working very well.

“When trying out different things, instead of only being limited to your perspective, it’s good to get a different view on it,” said Sa’trina Anderson, a student from Neville Junior High School.

She said going back to adjust the length and angle of their turbine blades was helpful in finding out what works best.

“This whole experience is nice because I never heard of this challenge before and it gave me a whole new experience,” Sa’trina said to KNOE News.

KidWind Challenge

A Successful First Year

After a busy day of building and testing wind turbines, the KidWind Challenge revealed the winners of the competition.

Sterlington Middle School placed first, Neville Junior High School won second place, and Cedar Creek Middle School came in third.

The prices included “invitations to the KidWind Challenge World Competition in Minneapolis, MN, in May, with a $1,000 travel stipend included for the top three teams,” ULM’s media release explained.

Pattern Energy is proud to support the University of Louisiana Monroe’s efforts to introduce wind and STEM education to youth.

“ULM exists to serve its community through connecting knowledge with challenges and opportunities. The sooner we can open doors for students to realize possibilities and potentials, the quicker lives can be changed. Working with younger students to address societal concerns gets them engaged sooner in the solution, leading to a lifetime of learning and connection with their communities,” said ULM Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Mark Arant.

Learn more about the KidWind Challenge and they events they hold across the country by visiting their website: