You see them throughout Rhode Island, specifically on the coast; wind turbines are a significant source of energy for the Ocean State.

The wind energy was spotted in a smaller than usual form on Roger Williams University’s campus on April 19, where 215 fourth graders from the Bristol Warren Regional School District gathered for KidWind day.

Over the last five weeks, fourth graders built their own wind turbines with the help from RWU education and engineering students.

Once their designs were ready to go, they put their knowledge to the test, by presenting in front of experts and placing their turbines in a wind tunnel. The turbines may not be the only thing in the making though.

“Wind energy growth is enormous right now in Rhode Island,” RWU Assistant Professor of Engineering Maija Benitz, said. “And so we see this project as a big part of helping the jobs pipeline. We really hope that a lot of these fourth graders will one day work in wind energy. And hopefully with our Roger Williams students who will be working in that capacity.”

Students made the wind turbines out of paper, wood and cardboard.

TPI Composites, South Coast Wind and Orsted were represented in the panel. The engineers not only gave advice to students , but inspired them too.

“Having so many wonderful female scientists and engineering role models in the room with them; I think makes such a big difference,” Stephanie Rioux, an RWU student studying elementary education, said. “All the students here can see if they want to go into engineering when they grow up, they absolutely can.”

Of course, am RWU event wouldn’t be the same without a visit from President Ioannis Miaoulis. He said this event is one of the most exciting events of the year.

“If you look at the world around us, most of it is human made, yet most of the science curriculum is on the natural world,” President Miaoulis said. “And this, introducing the student to wind energy, to engineering, is a wonderful way to see how you can use technology to preserve the natural world.”

KidWind is not only offered to students in elementary school. Programs take place throughout the country for middle school, high school and college students too. For more information, click here.

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