Friday, April 19, 2024

STEM kits help students learn about renewable energy

Seventh-grade students in Jack Crowson’s introductory agriculture class were enthusiastically constructing table-top wind generators earlier this month courtesy of NextEra Energy.

Earlier this year, NextEra Energy donated 70 wind generator kits to area schools including Hayfield, Blooming Prairie, Triton, and Kasson-Mantorville. The kits are designed to give the students a first-hand experience with renewable energy.

The STEM kits are a Kre8 Wind Generator Kit made by Kelvin Electronics. They walk students through the steps of building a wind turbine from multiple pieces and wind turbine blades.

Crowson had his students working in smaller groups of two or three students. During the weeklong project they constructed the wind turbines, which stand about a foot tall when completed. When finished, turning the turbine blades will light a small LED bulb showing how wind energy works. Each group also explained what process they used to construct the turbines and what worked and what didn’t work.

The students had started their wind turbine project on Monday and by Thursday were busy putting the final touches on them, including adjusting the turbine blades so they would cause the LED bulbs to light up. Initially, they were turning the turbine blades by hand to get the tension and angles right but when completed, Crowson said, they would be using fans to stimulate the wind. The students would also be discussing the construction and what worked and what did not work.

All students at Hayfield are required to take the class, Crowson said. The class covers a variety of topics including agriculture, FFA, careers, food processing, plants, and natural resources.

The process and reaction was similar in Blooming Prairie, said agriculture teacher Abby DeDina.

“We used the kits in Ag Science, which is a class for 9th graders here at Blooming Prairie. The students learned about solar energy first and then the opportunity to use these STEM kits came about for the students to learn about wind energy as well. It was perfect timing and couldn’t have been a better opportunity for them!

They loved the kits; they had a great time putting them together and learning about the pieces and functions. Being able to give the students a piece to “hold onto” when they are learning about it always seems to help the information stick in their minds a little better!

 

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