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Kansas KidWind teams advance to national competition

TOPEKA – The winners of last weekend’s Kansas KidWind State Finals are now gearing up for their next challenge – the National KidWind Challenge scheduled for May 14-17 in Boulder, Colorado.  To qualify for the national competition, teams first had to capture one of the top two spots in their age division during regional competitions, then win one of the top three spots in their age group at the State Finals.

The winning teams representing Kansas are:

4th- 8th Grade Division

1st place – Hutch STEM Blue – Allen STEM Magnet School – USD 308Coaches: Tara Urban and Jes BrocklemanTeam Members: Dalton Urban, Liam Clark, Zoey Schletzbaum, and Gatlin Leopp

2nd place – W2 (“W squared”) – Oakley School District, USD 274Coach: Morgan BerkgrenTeam Members: Maddox Hubert, Gage Eberle, Jayde Kahle, Kylee Hodges, Emma Mandeville, and Zoe Meyers

3rd place – Los Girasoles Ventosos (The Windy Sunflowers) – Beloit Jr/Sr High School, USD 273Coach: Christie FoutsTeam Members: Tripp Stillwell, Brylee LePon, and Rilee Lundine

9th-12th Grade Division

1st place – The Goblins – Beloit High School, USD 273Coaches: Grant Deneke and Christie FoutsTeam Members: Jayce Offutt, Jackson Cheney, Luke Cheney, Charlie Burke, and Jayc Darnall

2nd place – Cru Winds – Buhler High School, USD 313Coaches: Curtis Morgan and James GazawayTeam Members: Andrew Morgan and Isaak Neighbor

3rd place – Burlington Wind Company – Burlington High School, USD 244Coaches: Bryan Bruening and Jan MartinTeam Members: Logan Curten, Michael Ianacone, and Isaac Rinker

To prepare for competition in the KidWind Challenge, team members work together to design, build and test a wind turbine using the materials of their choice. At each level of competition (regional, state and national), turbines are put to the test in a 48″ × 48″ wind tunnel at a wind speed of approximately 3.5-5 m/s (meters per second). Scoring is based on turbine performance and efficiency, a knowledge quiz, an instant challenge, and a presentation to judges where the team explains its design process.

Last year, three Kansas teams earned honors at the National KidWind Challenge. Hutch STEM Blue from STEM Magnet School at Allen Elementary was named Elementary Division National Champions, Wind Chill from Dighton Middle School won the Innovator Award and Gerald La Turbina from Beloit Jr/Sr High School won the Judges Award.

KidWind is an Energy Education Event from the Kansas Corporation Commission and K-State Engineering Extension made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal is to help students learn key concepts around science, technology, engineering, and math in fun and engaging ways. The KidWind program actively engages students. It teaches not only STEM skills, but also promotes teamwork, problem solving and public speaking.

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