2024 KidWind Challenge Kicks Off This Week

By Trish Svoboda

The 2024 Kansas KidWind Challenge is set to begin this week. What started as a single regional challenge in 2016 with 14 teams has now expanded into six regional events, with an expected total of 95 teams from 48 schools to compete this year.

The first regional challenge kicks off in Hutchinson on Tuesday, February 13, with 11 schools slated to participate. Following this, five more regional events are scheduled in Manhattan, Burlington, Dodge City, Colby, and Overland Park. All events are open to the public.

Student teams collaborate to conceive, construct, and evaluate a wind turbine using materials of their choosing, resulting in turbines that showcase a diverse array of designs – from those fashioned out of soda cans to vinyl records, each one unique. These turbines undergo testing in a 48″ × 48″ wind tunnel, subject to wind speeds of approximately 3.0 meters/second (6.7 miles/hour).

Participants are categorized by age into two groups: 4th – 8th grade and 9th – 12th grade. Evaluation criteria include turbine performance, a knowledge quiz, a presentation to judges elucidating the team’s design process, and an instant challenge. Winning teams from regional contests progress to the state finals scheduled for April 13 in Salina. State champions earn an invitation to the national competition in Minneapolis, MN, where last year, two Kansas teams secured national titles.

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