A multi-county STEM competition was the setting to have high schools compete to make the most efficient wind turbine.

Soft SkillsIn Paramus, New Jersey high school students from northern New Jersey gathered as part of the New Jersey STEM League. The three year old competition was following a “green” energy theme, allowing students to explore their interest in renewable energy.

“You have to identify something that’s vivid and meaningful to the kids,” said Paramus High School STEM supervisor Michael Pilacik. “This generation of students we’re dealing with now, they’re very much in tune with environmental issues and ecological issues.”

Each of the schools entered two teams of five students each.  They used computer-aided drafting to create a scheme drawing, and did physics experiments to model their actual turbine.  Then they built the product, and tested the turbines with wind from electric fans to see which produced the most electricity.

“It’s the old-fashioned scientific method of problem solving,” Pilaci said. “The students don’t know what the problem is when they walk through the door.”

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