BP students take Big Easy turbine trip

BROADALBIN-Students at Broadalbin-Perth Middle school are preparing to pack their wind turbine and head to New Orleans this morningThe Turbinators placed first in the recent KidWind Challenge at GE in Schecnectady. Their win qualified them to compete in the national competition May 24. They participated in the junior high division.

Eighth-grade students Antonio Zevola, Emily MacFarlane, Avery Fenton, Patrick Nellis, Benjamin Nellis, Maria Meola, Emmaleigh Clouser and Dominique Castelluccio make up Team Turbinator.

Cindy Sengenberger, the students Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics teacher and wind turbine coach said building wind turbines is an aspect of her STEM class.

Wind turbines create electricity. Students learn how wind is formed, the equation of power and the steps it takes to build and test your own turbine.

Sengenberger said she only served as a guide for the students.

“I don’t teach them how to build it,” she said. “They really do it all. I tell them what they are looking for and they create the end result,” Sengenberger said.

Back in March several teams brought their wind turbines to compete at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica.

Building a wind turbine is a class requirement but students are not required to compete

“We entered that competition and we didn’t do well. Our best team came in fifth place. Two of the teams merged together and re built and reinvented,” Sengenberger said.

The new team placed first in every category at the GE KidWind competition after spending hours in class and after school working on their turbine.

Sengenberger said all the students on the combined team are leaders. She was hesitant that one of the students may try to take charge.

“I was so pleased to see that they divided the work for their strengths. It’s a good model for adults, They are remarkable young people,” she said.

Sengenberger admired the groups “sticktoitiveness.”

“They could of easily just quit after coming in first place. They fulfilled their class requirements and still wanted to move on,” she said.

Team member Maria Meola said “we are excited about competing and winning something at the competition.”

She also said they were excited about getting to go to a new place with their team and enjoy themselves.

“We’ve been working on this project since February or March. We spent a lot of time on it,” Team member Avery Fenton said.

Sengenberger said competing is good real world application for her students.

“The beauty about going to competitions is to see what the other students have built,” she said.

The Turbinators will be competing against 48 other teams for the national title and $1,500 cash prize. They won $500 in the first competition, which went towards their trip to New Orleans.

“I don’t think we are as nervous. We are looking to see how we can improve ourselves,” Fenton said.

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