Students get hands on with wind energy – Journal

June 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

STERLING — It’s not uncommon to see wind turbines in northeastern Colorado, but the 14 students who participated in a four-day Wind Energy class held by Northeastern Junior College, as part of their Kids College, now have a whole new understanding of how the turbines work.

The class, which started Tuesday and ends today, was funded by Xcel Energy’s “Safe Working for All” grant. Instructors for the class were Jason Hazlett, chair of NJC’s Transportation/Wind Energy Department, and James Lenzen, assistant director of the renewable energy program.

Students who participated in the program were primarily sixth through eighth graders. Some decided to take the course because they have family members who work in the wind industry, others “just thought it would be cool” to learn about the wind turbines. A few of the students took the course last year and decided to try it again this summer.

The students seemed to agree that they’ve learned a lot from the class.

During Thursday’s session, the students got to build their own ardunio board, a single-board microcontroller intended to make the application of interactive objects or environments more accessible. Ardunio boards can be used to measure the output of a wind turbine.

While building their ardunio boards the students learned about electricity and how it needs a continuous loop to run, as well as how using resisters can restrict how much electricity will flow.

Earlier in the week the students got to build their own circuits and learn how to climb a wind turbine. They even practiced rescuing someone injured while working on a turbine.

The students did some more climbing Thursday, learning how to traverse across the turbine to get to the electrical box. They also learned the process for rigging an object, such as a pipe, to be lifted up to the top of the wind turbine using a crane and got to practice lifting and lowering the pipe.

Additionally, the class taught the students about various electrical occupations.

NJC has many more Kids College classes planned for this summer. Next week’s classes include Space+Reading+Crafts=FUN, 12:30 to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and Tennis Anyone? Monday through Thursday, 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. for grades K-2, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. for grades 3-4 and 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for grades 5-8.

To register for classes or find out more about other upcoming classes call 970-521-6663.

Contact Journal-Advocate staff writer Callie Jones at 970-526-9286 or

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