• 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  at least 1 time in the tunnel.  After that, teams will be able to have more chances – dependant upon how fast teams set up their turbines in the tunnel and how large the class size is.  The best score of any time in the tunnel will be taken as record
  • 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
      • 45 pts:  150 mW and above
      • 35 pts:  100 mW and above
      • 25 pts:  50 to 99 mW
      • 20 pts:  49 mW and below

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