A variety of organizations are involved in wind energy education in the United States, offering teacher trainings, curricula, contests, awards, and scholarships. The Wind Energy Foundation is committed to supporting these efforts and working toward a national K-12 wind education program. Wind energy K-12 curricula, resources, and organizations involved in K-12 wind energy education are listed below.
Organizations Involved in Wind Energy Education
The 4-H program is led by a unique public-private partnership of universities, federal and local government agencies, foundations, and professional associates. Partners work together to provide educational content, curricula, resources, and cutting-edge technology to youth across the country. 4-H offers The Power of the Wind curriculum.
The Museum of Science’s EiE program fosters engineering and technological literacy among students and educators, reaching more than 1 million students and 22,000 teachers. The EiE project helps elementary school educators enhance their understanding of engineering concepts through professional development workshops and resources.
EiE’s curriculum is focused on engineering; however, some of EiE’s lessons involve energy, the environment, and wind. For instance, Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills guides students to think like mechanical engineers as they use their knowledge of wind to design and create machines that can be used to capture wind energy. The storybook Leif Catches the Wind reinforces the science concept of air as wind and introduces students to the field of mechanical engineering.
KidWind has developed a WindWise curriculum with Normandeau Associates, an environmental consulting firm that promotes sustainability and renewable energy. KidWind also sponsors the KidWind Challenges, national and web-based competitions, as well as WindSenators, a wind energy training program for teachers and parents who advocate locally for wind and renewable energy education. WindSenators attend a multiple-day training session and offer support to the KidWind Challenge. KidWind Wind Kits and lessons are available for purchase to teachers for hands-on, in-class activities about wind and renewable energy.
National KidWind Challenge at the USA Science & Engineering Festival
The first National KidWind Challenge will be held at the largest and only STEM education festival in the country, in Washington, D.C., on April 26, 2014. The USA Science & Engineering Festival anticipates a 500,000-person attendance, and the event's organizers predict KidWind to be one of the main attractions!
NEED is focused on training the future of the energy workforce, working to educate students and teachers about energy and efficiency by giving them the tools to educate their communities and peers. The organization offers teacher trainings, curriculum development, and student leadership opportunities, and publishes the Career Currents newsletter. NEED also has programs that allow students to work hands-on installing wind turbines and solar panels. The NEED network consists of 65,000 classrooms nationwide.
NSTA has 60,000 members including teachers, administrators, scientists, and industry representatives. NSTA chairs the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Coalition and has reached thousands of family and community members through Science Matters community events. NSTA launched the Shell Science Lab Challenge, which awards a makeover to school science labs. The organization also runs the New Science Teachers Academy to address attrition rates found in the science and technology professions.
NSTA sponsors several awards and competitions related to green energy. The Spirit of Innovation Awards challenges teams in grades 9-12 to design products for use in aerospace, space nutrition, renewable energy, and green schools. The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is a national competition for K-12 students to develop actionable solutions for a greener world.
NSTA also publishes books and journals, holds educational conferences, offers professional development opportunities, recognizes and honors outstanding science educators, provides ways to influence national education policy, develops official positions, and offers best practices.
NEA offers a network of support and advocacy for the nation’s educators. The organization provides lessons plans, support, and classroom strategies for teachers, as well as holds annual conferences to promote educational leadership. NEA has a partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation and offers numerous grants that are focused on energy and the environment. It also offers grades K-12 Earth Day curriculum. Its green education partners include:
NEA supports the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Solar Decathlon and offers lesson plans that include wind energy through a partnership with DOE and KidWind.
DOE offers student-focused information on wind energy, including hands-on activities and lesson plans.
EIA Energy Kids is a resource designed specifically for teachers and students, designed to be user-friendly and engaging with easy access to information and quick energy facts for students and teachers. EIA has lesson plans available for teachers of all age groups, K-12. Wind makes up a small percentage of EIA’s educational materials; however, all energy sources are represented in an educational format. EIA has a partnership with NEED and electronically distributes NEED’s Career Currents newsletter.