Which way does the wind blow?

  • Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2007 - 9:43 PM

Some junior high students will help decide that using a grant from MIT.

A team of 20 students at Great River Charter School in St. Paul will create a wind sensor to help engineers decide the best places to put windmills for generating energy, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Great River, a Montessori junior high and high school, is one of only 16 schools across the country to be awarded a grant to participate in the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams initiative, which seeks to enhance science, technology, engineering and math education.

Students will start working to create their invention soon and should have a prototype developed by February or March, said Lydia McAnerny, the school's development director. They will travel to Boston in June to demonstrate their device at InventTeams Odyssey at MIT.

"This is real work. It's not the sort of manufactured academic stuff for kids that you sometimes see," she said. "These teams create real inventions and they go on to sell those inventions."

In addition to the grant, the school received $2,000 in software licenses for computer-aided design from SolidWorks Corp.

Students will use the software in the design of their sensor.

The Lemelson-MIT program recognizes outstanding inventors, seeks to encourage sustainable solutions to real-world problems, and works to inspire young people to pursue creative careers through invention.

A second $10,000 grant, from Minnetronics, will allow Great River to fund a robotics class and team that will meet during the school's January term, McAnerny said. That team, made up of 15 students, will move onto a robotics league competition in March.

James Walsh • 651-298-1541

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