5th Grade explores Renewable Wind Energy in Hands-On Program

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa – On Wednesday, March 20th, 5th Graders at Roundy Elementary School in Columbus Junction and at Louisa-Muscatine (L-M) Elementary in Letts were introduced to the concepts of renewable wind energy, the different disciplines of engineering that go into harnessing wind energy, and the variety of occupations people have in the industry of renewable energy.

10 students from Iowa State University’s Wind Energy Team traveled south to Louisa County to offer up their skills, passions, and insight into renewable wind energy. Each Iowa State student acted as a mentor to a group of four to six 5th grade students to design a wind powered car. Students used cardboard, paper, tape, markers, wheels and popcicle sticks to construct their cars. Not only did the cars need to travel far, but they also needed to have an attractive design. Team work, comradery, trial and error, compromise, and experimentation were all observed as the groups designed their cars. The highlight of the program was the race of the wind powered cars. Using 4 box fans, each group brought up their car to be tested. Cheers could be heard throughout the hallways as cars were tested with the winning car traveling 61 feet!

Adair Lents, County Director for Louisa County ISU Extension and Outreach, and Abby Boysen, Youth Program Specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach, facilitated the program between the ISU Wind Energy Team and 5th grade teachers at Roundy and L-M.

“I was so pleased to see the additional STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programming be taught to our Louisa County 5th graders. The possibilities in these fields are limitless and I love it when our youth are exposed to these innovative industries early on in their education. Our teachers do an excellent job, we are happy to come along side them to offer programs that supplement what they are teaching everyday in the classroom” states Adair Lents, County Director for Louisa County ISU Extension and Outreach.

A big thank you to the faculty at Roundy Elementary and Louisa-Muscatine Elementary for allowing us to offer the program, as well as the ISU Wind Energy team for sharing their time and talents with our 5th graders.