• From the information obtained from all student research groups and from other designprocessSMsources, – using the Design process – individually design, build, test, revise, and compete a model wind turbine design, with the purpose of obtaining the greatest amount of power generated.


  • 3 to 5 working days before the challenge


  • Must use the motor given/being used. Only one generator may be used.
  • Power must be generated solely by the available wind from the operating fan/fans of the wind tunnel
  • Testing/Challenge tower must remain within the wind tunnel
  • Pre-manufactured blades can not be used
  • Turbine must be free-standing
  • 3D printed parts are acceptable as long as they are deemed safe
  • Blades must be made of a ‘safe’ material. No metal blades are allowed
  • Fan will be at the highest setting
  • Turbine must be built within the class confines by the students themselves
  • Sandbags or weights will be on hand if needed to hold down the tower
  • Pre-manufactured gear boxes are okay to be used, but note that innovation is a critical judging criteria
  • All work must be done within the classroom environment

Organizational Constraints

  • Students may work by themselves or in groups of two. No groups of three or larger will be allowed
  • The Challenge date and time are final. No groups will be allowed – for any reason- to compete after this date

Material resources

  • Only a motor will be provided. All other materials are up to the student to supply
  • The tower will be available to be used, but is not required (students may build their own)
  • Dowel rods, hubs, cardboard will be available upon request

Online Data Registration

  1. Your group must complete the online data registration form.  Click here
  2. Make a ‘placard’ with your first and last names, your class designator, and the year.  Have teacher take a picture of your wind turbine.

You might find the following helpful: Calculating Power from your Wind Turbine

Challenge Procedures

  • Each team will have 30 second runs in the tunnel
  • Students will not be allowed to touch the tower/turbine once the data collection has begun
  • Both maximum voltage obtained and the average power obtained over the 30 seconds will be the data that is collected
  • Teams will have no more than two times in the tunnel
  • Teams must have their data submitted before the period of the challenge or their team will be disqualified, resulting in a maximum 80% grade.
  • There are no makeups for this event!

Rubric (125 pts)

  • 25 pts – Completion of assignment on time (individually graded)
  • 50 pts – Individual Effort towards completion of goal (individually graded)
    • Use of class time; fair distribution of work load; number of times in the wind tunnel; attention/behavior during lectures/instructions/reviews
  • 15 pts -Active participation on Challenge Day
  • 35 pts – mWatts obtained
    • Geared:
      • 35 pts:  300 mW and above
      • 30 pts:  100 to 200 mW
      • 25 pts:  Less than 99 mW
    • Non-Geared
      • 35 pts:  150 mW and above
      • 25 pts:  75 to 149 mW
      • 15 pts:  Less than 74 mW

There will be an additional grade for the completed data -25 pts

Extra credit:

  • Consideration will be given to teams that obviously worked hard, but just ran out of time
  • Bringing in your own material