Students headed to national wind turbine competition

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BOTETOURT CO., Va. (WDBJ7) A group of students in Botetourt County is getting ready for a national competition testing their engineering skills.

It brings students from across the country to New Orleans so they find out who has the best wind turbine. About a dozen students in Botetourt County are competing in the "KidWind Challenge" coming from an unlikely school.

Life moves a little slower on the farm, but once you move inside to the one room schoolhouse, it's a different story.

Christopher Duvall said, "Oh it's amazing. It's absolutely amazing."

Duvall can't rest on his accomplishments yet. He's on a mission to win big at nationals. He and the groups here have been spending about ten hours per week designing, creating and testing a turbine.

Wendy Grimshaw, The Learning Barn Owner/Educator, said, "We've been spending a lot of Friday nights here."

It falls right into Wendy Grimshaw's plan. She's the owner and teacher here at "The Learning Barn" -- a old-school take on new-school education of science, technology, engineering and math.

"It's all tied in together,” said Grimshaw. “It's all integrated which is just the perfect balance in the learning setting."

Thomas Laughridge said, "This has really helped me a lot actually. I didn't know any of these formulas for the power and I didn't know anything about wind energy before starting this."

The two high school teams placed first and second in the regional competition. Now, they're making their designs even better -- by testing in their homemade wind tunnel.

"We have the blades that are hooked up to a generator obviously, and that's hooked up to the multimiter and that tells us how many volts we're getting."

The rubric stays on the board to remind them how to take home first place. It's a high tech task this group is up for in a low tech setting.

“We'll bring it our best,” said Duvall.

It's the first time they're going to the national competition on May 24. Right now, they're looking for sponsors to help them get there.