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Albemarle County Middle Schoolers Win Wind Energy Competition - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle County Middle School Students Win Wind Energy Competition

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Some Albemarle County middle school students have good reason to celebrate this week. A group of Jack Jouett Middle School students won first place in a statewide wind energy competition.  

The students were given materials and asked to construct a wind energy device that would produce electricity.    

Their turbine produced the most electricity at the Virginia KidWind Challenge 2013 competition held at Thomas Harrison Middle School in Harrisonburg.

"It can be very useful like if you have efficient blades and good, good blades and you have a overall good wind turbine you can harvest it very well and bring in a lot of power but if you have just this thrown together sloppy wind turbine, you'd just be wasting the wind," said Colson Heath, one of the winning Jack Jouett students.

The team of four split a $350 prize. A second team from Jouett Middle won third place.


Albemarle County Public Schools
Press Release

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – A team of students from Jack Jouett Middle School placed first in the Virginia KidWind Challenge 2013, a statewide competition among middle and high school students to design and demonstrate an efficient wind turbine. The competition was held this month at Thomas Harrison Middle School in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Students were asked to incorporate engineering and scientific principles in constructing a small-scale wind turbine and were evaluated according to the amount of electricity they were able to generate. All participating teams received a generator, a set of resistors, a digital multimeter, a turbine hub, and dowels to begin their project.

Jouett entered four teams in the competition, and the winning team of the open competition included students Harlan Costain, Colson Heath, Hyeong-Geon Kim, and Myles Ward, collectively known as the Kilowatt Kommandos. The team shared the first place prize of $350. A second team, including Maggie Angevine, Nora Dale, Arghya Shetty, and Annabel Shriopshire, earned $150 for placing third in the middle school division.

Teams were judged on their power output, turbine design, engineering process, and knowledge of the subject matter.

"I'd like to congratulate all of the 18 students who were on the four teams we had in the competition," said Rob Dent, a gifted resource teacher at Jack Jouett. "They were very enthusiastic and creative in their work together. As the event organizers pointed out, this not only was a chance to get students involved in the study of alternative energy concepts, but also a fun way to promote teamwork, leadership and problem-solving skills," Dent added.

Dent said that Bill Gressick, senior research engineer for Barron Associates, served as an advisor to the teams during their five weekly meetings.

The KidWind Challenge began in 2009 in New York and has expanded since into a national program with competitions in several states. In Virginia, the competition was conducted by the Virginia Center for Wind Energy based at James Madison University and sponsored by Dominion Power.

"At Jouett," Dent said, "we especially were interested in the design and building aspects of this competition. It was an excellent way to introduce students to design and technical skills that are essential to the advanced manufacturing economy of the future," he added.

Jouett also is one of two Albemarle County public schools collaborating with the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and its Engineering School to create the first lab school in the nation. Together with Charlottesville City's Buford Middle School, Charlottesville High School, and Albemarle High School, Jouett will offer classes in advanced manufacturing technologies. The state is providing a $300,000 planning grant for the program, which will expand training opportunities for students in science and engineering to prepare them better for careers in technology-rich professions.

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