Mike O’Connell

Used wind energy to generate power

2019 STEM Scholar
Chester, SD Chester Middle School

Mike’s Big Idea: Mike implemented a solid wind energy program into his classes. Using the KidWind experiment kits, Mike’s students learned about turbine design, designed their own turbine blades and then used the blades to generate electricity, lift weights, light LEDs and pump water.

They also collected data to compare turbine designs, measured power output and differentiated between power and energy.

Interesting Facts: Mike’s favorite classroom project is based on a paper roller coaster project. His students begin by brainstorming and developing a plan to build a paper roller coaster. They analyze how to best use forces and gravity and they also learn basic technology during the building process. They learn the differences between potential and kinetic energy, calculate problems, measure speed and acceleration and learn how to calculate free fall and centripetal force. The students learn how to build from the bottom up and they learn how to be flexible and work with teammates to accomplish a goal.

In his own words: "I am excited to collaborate with all of the people that were also selected for this program. I feel honored to belong to such an awesome group."