Boys create wind turbines, solve energy crisis at STEM event

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Young students built miniature wind turbines and solved a mock crisis at the Knights and Dragons event for fathers and sons in fourth through eighth grades, hosted April 15 by the Hill Air Force Base STEM Outreach Program at the Gerrity Memorial Library.

On this evening, participants had the opportunity to build mini wind turbines and use solar panels to power a small village. Instructors began by explaining the current world energy situation and the need for renewable energy. Participants then had time to plan, design, test, redesign and attempt to use their wind turbines. 

Monica Panzarella, whose husband works in the 388th Electronic Maintenance Squadron on base, joined her husband and son at this family-friendly event. 

The family learned about this activity during one of their visits to the library and, since her son “loves hands-on engineering-type stuff,” he wanted to check it out.

The participants joined in a team activity with a mock crisis that they had to solve. A small village lost its wind turbines in an earthquake, and the boys needed to use their constructed mini wind turbines and solar panels to power the lights of the village and bring water to its residents. 

The purpose of such events is to empower young men and spark their creativity with engineering and scientific processes. 

Coordinators hope children will walk away with “a recognition that the future prosperity depends on whether we are able to use energy more efficiently and that renewable energy technologies are fun,” said Jon McBride, STEM outreach coordinator, “meaning that they can create energy with everyday common things. We hope this newfound knowledge leads them to a lifetime of engineering innovation.”

To find out more about the STEM Outreach Program or to find out about upcoming STEM events, call 801-777-2533.

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