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Turbine Power!

The Energy Literacy, Engagement and Action Program, Energy LEAP, is a free, week-long summer institute for twenty high school students that took place on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill from July 31st to August 4th. One of the leaders for the group was Dana Brown Haine, K-12 Science Education manager for the UNC Institute for the Environment.

During the week, students conducted hands-on and minds-on science, technology, engineering and math, STEM, activities to examine society’s current use of energy and the technological solutions that will support a low-carbon future. Programming included a mixture of engaging activities, presentations, and field trips.

One of the activities was held at the BeAM makerspace at Murray Hall, where students designed and constructed wind turbines to learn about wind energy. Student teams were challenged to design, test, and refine a wind turbine that could produce more electricity than those designed by their peers. They were given a standardized motor, so the design skill and inventiveness were all funneled into designing the most efficient rotor blade.

This student science enrichment program is administered by the UNC Institute for the Environment and is conducted in partnership with UNC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. Financial support for this program is provided by the UNC Institute for the Environment and the Duke Energy Foundation.

The winning team in the informal turbine performance competition, which was part of the activities