Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge 2018

This week I had the pleasure of judging the Wind Energy competition at the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge! Coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge is an annual competition in which students show off devices they built that are powered by wind or light. The event promotes the development of skills in science, technology, engineering and math. This year was primarily aimed at students in the 3rd to 5th grades. (8-11 years old), with a “solar boats” and “wind energy” competition. The short video below gives a great outline of the competition!

The standard of work on display for the 2018 competition was very impressive; and it was extremely heartening to see that young kids are excited and engaged with the prospect of a renewable energy future!

The competition for wind energy was scored in two parts –  the energy output of the device, and the poster presentation; which looked at the teams’ understanding of problem, the design process, the teamwork involved in getting to their unique solution.

The wind turbine designs were extremely varied, from 1 inch triangles, to foot-long curved blades, but the results couldn’t have been closer! The top 3 teams scored 61.5, 63 and 63.5 respectively; with Taft elementary managing to take all of the podium positions on the day.

This was an incredibly fun competition, and I think the potential of STEM activities such as these for inspiring kids at a young age is absolutely massive. I fully believe that if we want to secure a better, more sustainable and cleaner energy future; this is where it starts.

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