Iowa Youth Get Wired for Wind



AMES, Iowa – Iowa youth had the opportunity to learn about wind energy with 4-H’s 2011 National Science Project, Wired for Wind. Young people across the country engaged in the engineering design process of renewable wind energy technology Oct. 5 as part of the national experiment.

Wired for Wind offers youth a look at renewable energy technologies by focusing on renewable energy and engineering design. The hands-on experiment teaches young people important lessons about engineering design, physics and energy.

“The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development program continues to provide youth in Iowa great opportunities to explore science, engineering and technology,” said Holly Bignall, with ISU Extension Science, Engineering and Technology (E-SET). “Wired for Wind gives youth the opportunity to learn about the exciting technology of wind power, and just as important, to learn about the engineering design process and experience the excitement and reward of discovery and innovation.”

Several ISU Extension county offices bought Wired for Wind kits and gave them to teachers in their school districts.  ISU Extension in Story County used the Wired for Wind kit for three activities.

“When I visited Ames, the students I worked with on Tuesday were coming from various elementary schools, so they wouldn’t necessarily know all the other participants,” said Story County 4-H Youth Coordinator Mary Wilkins. “They started working together right away on their wind turbines. This was an excellent opportunity for students to think critically and get to know one another.”

On Oct. 4, Wilkins worked with 15 Ames third, fourth and fifth graders at an after-school event. On Wednesday, 4-H National Youth Science Day, Wilkins went to the Ames Public Library and worked on the kits with youth there. On Thursday, Oct. 6, ISU Extension in Story County held an open house at their office and used the kits there as a hands-on activity for kids.

“There’s a real connection with Wired for Wind and Story County because we have wind farms in this county,” Wilkins said. “When I saw Wired for Wind, I immediately saw the relevance of the activity to our county, and to many other Iowa counties. We wanted to help students make the connection.”

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Note: Mary Wilkins works with youth at the Ames Public Library.