The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Teachers attend wind energy workshop


February 19, 2020

Living on the High Plains we’re no stranger to the winds that sweep across the land. Those winds, however, are gradually becoming a substantial source of renewable energy, considering the growing number of wind farms.

These wind farms are quickly becoming a potential career path for many of our students. To prepare for the future, a group of about 20 teachers recently attended a workshop co-sponsored by the KidWind Project and Pattern Energy to learn more about renewable energy sources to introduce to students.

The KidWind Workshop was an amazing learning opportunity, hosted by Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari. Also participating were teachers from other regional districts, from Santa Rosa to Corona to Texico, including many communities in between.

Materials were provided for this free, hands-on workshop to learn more about wind technologies. Teachers had a chance to become students again, many partnering with educators from other communities to create small-scale turbines for generating and measuring electrical output and torque, by generating sufficient wind-power to lift weighted objects.

Teachers were provided with PVC tubing, wiring, and household objects to create their turbines; paper plates, straws, small wooden dowels, Styrofoam, string, duct tape, and more. Using trial and error, teacher teams came up with interesting-looking structures to test in from of the large box fans, then head back to the “drawing board” to modify and increase efficiency.

Guided by the energetic Michal Arquin, director of the KidWind Project, the day was filled with lots of learning and laughter. Better yet, teachers were provided with a wealth of materials, resources, and curricula to take back to their schools to work with students. Pattern Energy project coordinator, Martina Rusk, wove her way among teams and groups during throughout the day, encouraging and advising.

In addition to the workshop, teachers had an opportunity to tour the amazing Mesalands Community College facility and their own full-sized, working turbine and learn about the educational and career opportunities for our students.

This kind of event aligns perfectly with our Clovis schools goals and objectives, covering STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) and our NMSI (National Math and Science Initiative).

Aside from the practical aspects, teachers returned, enthusiastic about their learning and eager to share with their students.

Teachers are now in the process of assembling materials and student teams to participate in the upcoming KidWind Challenge. Nice to think there’s a productive purpose for those pesky winds.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for Clovis Municipal Schools. She can be reached at:

[email protected]


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