KidWind Challenge Organizer Resource Center
Preparing for Your Challenge
KidWind Challenge events come in all shapes and sizes. Some events occur at the school-level with 6-8 teams, while other regional events have as many as 60 teams! We've seen great 2 hour events and dynamic day long competitions. And then there is Nationals - 3 days and nearly 100 teams! It's really just a series of decisions made based on your capacity and resources.
Deciding on Structure
Who is coming?
Are you limiting this event to just your school or organization, or are you opening the event to other local teams?
How long do you have?
During the school day, after school, or a weekend?
If you are hosting a school level challenge with only teams from one school, we suggest building time into your school day or having an after school challenge.
If you are hosting a regional event with teams from more than one school, we suggest a Saturday event. If you are planning on fewer than 6 teams, a 2-3 hour event should be enough time to run everyone through the tunnels. For 6-12 teams, we recommend 3-4 hours, and for 12-20 teams, a full day event (8am-3pm or 9am-4pm).
Which event components will you have?
KidWind Challenge events look quite different across the map, but they all have time for teams to test their structures and time to talk through their designs with judges. Many events have additional components meant to test teamwork and probe at the students’ level of understanding.
Tunnel Testing: Teams must run their turbine through the wind tunnel in order to evaluate its power output. It typically takes about 3 minutes for a team to do this.
Solar Device Testing: While the primary testing of the solar device will occur during solar judging, it is important to set-up a solar array that is accessible to teams so that they can test their device and be sure things are working properly.
Turbine Judging: A panel of judges will examine the turbine and ask the team questions about their design process. Typically, teams come to the judging room with a short presentation and documentation of their process. This sometimes looks like a poster board, notebook, or powerpoint presentation. New this year, teams should complete a turbine profile form and submit it to the organizer or directly to the judges. This form provides the judges with some basic information to help inform questions. Turbine judging is scheduled in 10-20 minute intervals, depending on how many judges and teams you have and the time of your event.
Solar Device Judging: A panel of judges will examine the solar device and ask the team questions about their design process. Typically, teams come to the judging room with a short presentation and documentation of their process. This sometimes looks like a poster board, notebook, or powerpoint presentation. New this year, teams should complete a solar device profile form and submit it to the organizer or directly to the judges. This form provides the judges with some basic information to help inform questions.
Instant Challenges: At some KidWind Challenges, teams may be asked to put their knowledge of renewable energy to work in an Instant Challenge. These Instant Challenges should present an on-the-spot challenge to the team that they can figure out an allotted time period. We typically schedule instant challenges in 30 minute intervals with 3-4 teams competing at the same time. Take a look at our instant challenge bank for some ideas.
Knowledge Tests: At some events, teams may be asked to complete a test or quiz to test their renewable energy knowledge. Here are some examples of questions that may appear on a knowledge test.
Building your Schedule
Now that you have decided on which components your Challenge will include, you can build your schedule. Regardless of how long you have, each KidWind Challenge follows the same basic trajectory.
Teams get settled
Teams arrive, assemble their structures, and get ready for the day.
The organizer or host gathers everyone to introduce the plan for the day.
The majority of time on Challenge Day will be for the main event components. More teams means more time required to get through all of unscheduled and scheduled events.
Typically teams manage their own timing for running their turbine through the wind tunnel(s). As you will see on the judging forms, there is room for 3 power readings. At some events organizers provide tokens or tickets that limit how many times a team can run their turbine through the tunnel. At solar events, there will also be a solar array available so that teams can do any last minute tinkering before judging. This means it is not a scheduled activity, but the expectation is that all teams will make time on their own to do these things.
Other components like instant challenges, knowledge tests, and wind and solar judging are typically timed events that are scheduled per team. Each team will need individual time with judges, most often provided in 10-20 minute increments. Instant challenges and knowledge tests may be able to accommodate multiple teams at once, and may need closer to 30 minutes.
Again, how much time it takes for a team to make their way through all the event components will largely depend on the number of teams in attendance at the event.
Score Tabulation (don’t forget about this!)
Be sure to leave enough time to calculate the final scores. For events with smaller numbers, you may be able to do this in under 30 minutes. We recommend leaving at least 1 hour in case you find any discrepancies.
At the end of the event, organizers thank everyone for participating, celebrate successes, and award top prizes.
Teams breakdown all structures and the organizers breakdown the tunnel, etc.
Support your local teams and coaches
Check in with coaches as they are preparing to attend the Challenge. You may want to visit their classrooms to provide assistance and to give the teams an idea of what to expect on Challenge Day. You may also want to provide additional materials or resources to teams that may have fewer financial resources. In some areas, nearby coaches may want to bring their teams together to do a practice tunnel run.
Find Judges & Volunteers
Tap into local organizations, universities, and professional networks to find volunteers able to be on site and run the event components. You will want 2-3 judges per division to handle the turbine or solar judging. Instant challenges should have 2-3 people prepping, implementing, and evaluating performance. Your wind tunnel will need at least one person to run the tunnel and another 1-2 to help with crowd control. You may also want someone at the tool table to help trouble-shoot when students/teams get stuck or need to make a repair.
We have had great success sending calls for volunteers out to local solar, wind, and utility companies, as well as to local engineering unions. Always find excited volunteers from local universities or technical colleges.
Secure a Wind Tunnel & Data Capturing Gear
Are you going to buy a wind tunnel, rent one from KidWind, or make one? You can buy this tunnel through KidWind for $3000 or rent one for $600. Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase or rent a wind tunnel. You can also make your own using these instructions. If you are on a limited budget and not ready to make such a commitment, it is possible that we can lend you a wind tunnel, or connect you to someone local that may have one. In addition to the tunnel, you will need the right equipment to measure output. Be sure to order this gear with plenty of time. Tunnels typically take 4-6 weeks to get out to you.
Order Trophies, Prizes and/or Certificates for Winners
How you celebrate top performers at the event will largely depend on your budget, partners, and sponsors. Some events have a handful of awards or plaques made at a local trophy shop. Those with more resources might provide monetary awards. Templates for printable certificates are available here. Get it touch with us if you want help prototyping your trophies!
Now that you have the basics figured out, here are some other things to consider (if you have room in your budget!)
- Are you going to provide t-shirts?
- Are you providing food for the teams?
- Are you providing food (breakfast/lunch) for the volunteers?
- Do you have an AV system/microphone set-up for the welcome/closing?