Students from around the Gorge participated in the 6th annual Google Wind Challenge Saturday, March 16 at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center in The Dalles. This year, more than 160 students representing 35 high school and middle school teams competed to build the competition’s top wind turbines.
During the Wind Challenge, student teams worked together with volunteer mentors to design, build and test their turbines. Teams compete against each other to see whose turbine can generate the highest voltage output and raise a 68cm mass in the least amount of time. Each team gets two opportunities to compete.
The Wind Challenge and accompanying STEM fair was sponsored by Google and produced in partnership with the Gorge Technology Alliance and Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC). Through the event, Wind Challenge organizers strive to bring hands-on STEM opportunities to local students and inspire the next generation of leaders in these fields.
“We always hope the Wind Challenge sparks an interest in science and technology both for students and community members,” Google data center operations manager Richard Stillwell said. “This STEM education event has become a proud community tradition during the past six years. We look forward to continuing to support STEM initiatives in the Gorge.”
Participants, their families and friends, and community members also had the opportunity to take part in the fun by exploring hands-on exhibits at the adjoining STEM fair, featuring interactive activities from Gorge MakerSpace, Google, CGCC and the FIRST Tech Challenge teams, among others.
This year, three high school and three middle school division winners were named, plus two categories
High School Winners: First place, Pacific Crest Innovation Academy “Owls” team; second place, L.I.F.E. in the Gorge Homeschool, “Cyclones 1” team; third place, Stevenson High School, “Bulldogs Maroon” team. Runner-up awards were best mechanical, Goldendale Homeschoolers, “Wild is the Wind” team, and best electrical, Goldendale High School, “Goldendale Yellow” team.
Middle School Winners: First place, White Salmon, “Santa Ana” team. Second place, L.I.F.E. in the Gorge Homeschool, “Zephyrs” team. Third place, Goldendale Middle School, “Goldendale Team 3” team. Runner-up awards were best mechanical, White Salmon, “Downwinders” team, and best electrical, Goldendale Homeschoolers, “Wind Beneath My Wings” team.