KidWind STEM Design Challenge: Overview

KidWind Design Challenge Overview

New to OEP’s Design Challenge? View the full outline and project overview below. 


Ready to get started? Link to the full list of lessons, student worksheets, videos and more. 

Sample Unit Plans

OEP recognizes participating schools will be implementing the program in different formats. Some will use it with their energy team or science club. Others may be implementing with an entire class. We also understand every school has unique safety procedures regarding Covid and hands-on science. Our goal is to provide maximum flexibility in implementing the challenge while providing adequate support. Using a Sample Unit Plan is not a requirement. They are only provided to help with your planning. Sample 3-Lesson or 6-Lesson Unit Plan

Pre-Challenge Knowledge

Students should have a general understanding of the sources of energy and how they are used to generate electricity. Additionally, students will utilize the scientific method to test their hypothesis and evaluate their results.

Wind 101 teacher lesson and How Do Turbines Work? (video) could be helpful resources introducing the science of wind energy. 

Introduction to the Engineering Design Process

OEP recommends the resources at as a basic background to the process. The link includes a 1:47 minute video introducing the seven-step cycle and printable posters for the classroom.


Try this quick icebreaker to introduce the engineering design process to your students. 

Building the Turbine Blades

Before the Activity (teachers)

  1. Assemble the KidWind Turbine. View the Tower Assembly & Testing Set-Up Video and/or Tower Assembly & Test Set-Up Handout.
  2. Collect sample blade building materials: scissors, tape/glue gun, other blade materials in additional to chipboard (provided in kit)
  3. Divide class into groups of 2-3 students

With Students

  1. As a class, ask the question, “How do engineers design wind turbines?” Brainstorm as a class.
  2. Show Video: Minute Physics Wind Turbine Design (3:26 minutes)
  3. Introduce Aerodynamics and Blade Design. Clink to view Blade Design Teacher Lesson.
  4. Divide into blade building groups. Brainstorm blade design considering all variables. Make a list of variables to consider. Refer to this list throughout the engineering process.
  5. Create blade prototype. Draw design and/or create a pattern. Arrange blades in hub. Video: Using a Pitch Protractor
  6. Test initial design and record data.
  7. Work with group to evaluate, redesign, test again. Repeat and collect data for trials #2 and #3.
  8. Document your work on the student datasheet and with photos/video.

Student Worksheets

Student Worksheet

Want to use the student datasheet in a Word or Google Document? Click to view other formats.

Testing Set-Up, Safety & Troubleshooting

Safety is a primary concern when testing your turbine blades. NEVER use metal or any sharp-edged material as they could cause injury while spinning fast during testing. It is important to wear safety goggles when testing the blades. Refer to OEP’s videos and teacher handout Set-Up, Safety & Trouble Shooting

Project Assessment

Student Pre/Post Poll

Student Pre/Post Poll KEY
Grading Rubric/Score Sheet

The grading rubric is included for evaluation if you are giving your students a grade for the project. The scores will not be asked on the final teacher evaluation or online project submissions.

Project Completion and Awards

To receive a stipend, you will need to complete the teacher evaluation.  The evaluation requires photo and video documentation. You can choose how you do this; either submit a single project or a compilation of projects. You will also have the option to nominate three projects for special awards (listed below). Any projects submitted for special awards will require a team photo, video and the students’ datasheet. More information will be provided on the judging criteria.

Teacher Nominated Awards:

  • Best use of engineering design process
  • Creative or artistic use of materials
  • Outstanding group teamwork
  • Most creative video

Optional Opportunities:

  1. Students can submit their projects to the KidWind Portal. Share your projects with other schools…and see what other schools are doing. This year there is no limit on the number of projects you can enter. View the KidWind Challenge portal to submit projects. 

Ohio Learning Standards

What are teachers saying?

Thanks to KidWind for their partnership with OEP's Design Challenges