University News

IL Wind for Schools Selects Six Districts for 2013-14 Partners

April 24, 2013


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MACOMB, IL -- The Illinois Wind for Schools (ILWFS) program has selected the schools that will participate during the 2013-2014 school year.

ILFWS is made possible through Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) grant funding and is sponsored through a partnership with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University, the WIU College of Business and Technology, the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University and the Illinois State University College of Education.

Through an application process, six school districts were selected as 2013-2014 ILWFS partner schools, including:

  • Freeport School District #145, Stephenson County;
  • Collinsville Community Unit School District #10, Madison County;
  • Jasper County Community School District #1, Jasper County;
  • Champaign Community Unit School District #4, Champaign County;
  • Prairieview-Odgen Community Consolidation School District #197, Champaign County; and
  • Webber Township High School District #204, Jefferson County.

According to IIRA Wind Energy Program Coordinator Jolene Willis, the program integrates wind energy topics into the classroom, offering curriculum-development resources, teacher professional development, on-site technical assistance and instructional equipment to middle school and high school teachers throughout Illinois. Willis said the ILWFS program addresses specific Illinois Learning Standards goals in mathematics, including estimation and measurement, as well as data analysis and probability and it encompasses specific science goals, which include inquiry and design; concepts and principles; and science, technology and society.

"Participating teachers will be required to attend the on-site workshop and maintain communication with ILWFS staff, providing evaluation and feedback of the lab activities, curriculum and equipment throughout the 2013-2014 school year."

The ILWFS program will begin this summer with a teacher workshop held on site at each partner school for all participating teachers. The program also provides curricula and lesson plans, equipment for hands-on activities and basic supplies at no cost. Continuing professional development units (CPDUs) will be offered to all teacher training sessions required of program participants, as well. Willis noted the ILWFS team will present a background of the energy and wind energy industries, wind energy fundamental principles and curriculum and methods used to integrate energy and wind energy materials into the classroom.

Prairieview-Odgen Community Consolidation School District #197 Superintendent Vic White said he is honored that his district was selected by the ILWFS program as a partner school.

"The training being offered to our teachers will prepare them to effectively instruct Prairieview-Ogden students," White said. "Incorporation of this curriculum, hands-on activities and equipment and the on-site 50kW Endurance Wind Turbine installed at South Elementary will help us achieve our goal of educating the next generation about wind energy."

Topics of the summer workshop will include fundamentals of wind energy, principles of wind turbine operation and ideas for integrating wind energy into the existing curriculum. In addition, participating schools will receive a classroom set of experimental model wind turbines, equipment with which to build and test the model wind turbines, a pack of experimental weather balloons, a model wind tunnel and customized lab activities and a comprehensive wind energy curriculum.

The wind energy curriculum includes lesson plans in five distinct areas: energy and electricity; wind and weather; turbines and engineering; environmental considerations; and economics.

In Fall 2013, ILWFS staff will install scientific weather instrumentation on the school grounds at each partner school. Teachers and students will then be able to easily access data collected by the weather instrumentation using any internet connection. Wind energy lessons will be integrated into the existing curriculum throughout the school year and the program will conclude in spring 2014.

Matt Aldeman, senior energy analyst for the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University said that the program's purpose is to engage Illinois school teachers and students in energy education, specifically targeting wind energy.

"We hope to educate students with the knowledge of wind energy principles, to position the next generation of career and technical professionals to enter the growing U.S. wind industry. We will also be able to provide technical assistance to Illinois school administrators on renewable energy integration in school facilities."

In addition to working with the six partner schools, the ILWFS program will conduct a free summer workshop for any Illinois middle school or high school educator interested in incorporating wind energy topics into his or her curriculum.

For more information, contact Willis at (309) 298-2835 or Aldeman at (309) 438-1440.

Learn more about Illinois Wind for Schools at www.ilwfs.org.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations