By Cait Goodwin
More than 170 elementary and middle school students converged on OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center on March 5th to compete in the 7th annual Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge hosted by Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. For weeks leading up to the event, students from Lincoln City, Newport, Waldport, and Florence researched renewable energy, explored existing and emerging technologies, and worked in teams building their own model devices. At the competition, students put their wind and solar energy devices to the test to see how their devices performed.
More than 40 teams designed wind turbines and tested them in a wind tunnel to determine which device produced the most energy. Students made their turbines from materials ranging from cardboard to 3-D printed plastic; their models varied in the number, size, shape, and angle of turbine blades. In addition, 22 teams tested solar boats in outdoors water tanks to see which model traveled the fastest. A variety of boat shapes and materials were represented, with designs using everything from plastic water bottles, duct tape and cork, to cardboard.
In all, 40 science and engineering professionals volunteered at the event, helping with judging, scoring, and operating testing stations. Each student team was interviewed by a pair of Engineering Judges. Points were awarded based on student responses to questions about how the team’s device worked and their design process. The judges were impressed with the students, their designs, and their ability to explain the reasons why their device performed as it did.
Employment in the Renewable Energy sector provides high wage jobs for those with strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) skills. By engaging students in hands-on STEM activities with real-world connections, the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge aims to get young people excited about STEM and STEM careers.
Winners of this year’s Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge are listed below. Top wind teams are invited to participate in the National KidWind Challenge in Houston, Texas in May.
2019 Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Winners:
1st Place Ms. Kilduff’s team #10 “Keelah & Sugar”, Crestview Heights School – Waldport
2nd Place Ms. Saxton’s team #6 “Windwalkers” from Crestview Heights School – Waldport
3rd Place Ms. Hill’s team #4 “Tornado Turbines” from Crestview Heights School – Waldport
1st Place Ms. LaMarche’s team #5 “Famous Four” from Taft Elementary – Lincoln City
2nd Place Ms. LaMarche’s team #1 “The Monsters” from Taft Elementary – Lincoln City
3rd Place Ms. McDermott’s team #3 “Orange Team” from Sam Case School – Newport
Cait Goodwin is the Communications Coordinator for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. If you would like to share your Oregon Coast STEM education story on this blog, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.