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Climate, global warming and energy are hot topics at Oak Ridge Science Camp this week

Appalachian students learn about wind energy and other concepts at ORAU's Center for Science Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 20, 2010
FY10-49

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Making wind turbines is a breeze for Tristian Dowis. All you need is some PVC pipe, a little paint and a beautiful day. It also helps that Dowis is learning about wind energy generation at the 2010 Oak Ridge Science Camp for middle school students, a one-week interactive learning camp being held at ORAU's Center for Science Education.

Tristian Dowis sprays PVC pipe with electric blue paint as part of an activity to design, build and test a wind turbine at the 2010 Oak Ridge Middle School Science Camp. Students from 13 different Appalachian states are at the camp in Oak Ridge this week learning about climate, global warming and alternate energies.

Tristian Dowis sprays PVC pipe with electric blue paint as part of an activity to design, build and test a wind turbine at the 2010 Oak Ridge Middle School Science Camp. Students from 13 different Appalachian states are at the camp in Oak Ridge this week learning about climate, global warming and alternate energies.

Dowis is a student at Cowpens Middle School in South Carolina and hopes to someday get into the Naval Academy. After that, "I'd like to be a digital engineer for NASA," he said. Dowis, like many of the other 24 students from 13 different Appalachian states attending the camp, thinks science is "pretty cool." They're all in Oak Ridge this week studying climate, global warming and alternative energies.

The camp, which is sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and ORAU, is in its second year. "It provides a real opportunity to do hands-on activities that incorporate engineering, math, science and basic observation skills," says Jennifer Harper, a teacher at Jefferson County High School who is also a master teacher with the camp.

In a "wind group" activity, the students learn and apply technical skills to the design and development of wind turbines. They also work out their own personal expression with turbine bases painted in tie-dye colors, camo, hot pink, electric blue and neon orange. "And, they're very competitive," adds Harper. "At the end of the camp, they'll participate in a field competition at the NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] wind tunnel in Oak Ridge to see whose turbine can produce the most power."

"It's so much more inspiring for students to see science in action rather than just having to learn about it in a text book," said Marie Westfall, science education group manager for ORAU. "Activities like these excite and energize students and show them that science can be fun."

The camp also features a solar group and a biofuels group with activities targeted toward enriching the students' knowledge about energy generation in these areas. In addition to the science group activities this week, students are also taking tours of ORNL labs and enjoying some East Tennessee attractions such as a Smokies baseball game and the Knoxville Zoo.

Closing ceremonies for the camp will be held this Fri., July 23, beginning at 8 a.m. in ORAU's Pollard Technology Conference Center, where the campers will present their final research and experiences to family members, friends, and others interested in attending.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).


Students Learn Wind Turbine Development in 5 Easy Steps

"Wind Group" students show off colorfully painted wind turbine bases that they've each constructed at this week's Oak Ridge Middle School Science Camp. Once the turbines are completed, the students will compete to determine whose turbine produces the most wind power.

"Wind Group" students show off colorfully painted wind turbine bases that they've each constructed at this week's Oak Ridge Middle School Science Camp. Once the turbines are completed, the students will compete to determine whose turbine produces the most wind power.

At camp this week, Dowis and his fellow students are learning wind turbine development in 5 easy steps:

1. Performing Internet research on wind turbines, wind energy generation, as well as gear ratios for power generation

2. Constructing/painting the turbine bases (as seen pictured here)

3. Taking a field trip to the Buffalo Mountain wind turbines, just north of Oak Ridge

4. Designing/building the turbine blades

5. Calculating power output of the turbines by measuring voltage and current and participating in a field competition at NOAA's wind tunnel in Oak Ridge

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