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Woven Wind

Woven Wind logo
BLUELab's Woven Wind Members Pictured
One member of Woven Wind works on a wind turbine

 WHO WE ARE

Woven Wind is a project team designs and manufactures small-scale wind turbines that are installed on elementary and middle schools to teach students about renewable energy, engineering, and STEM. Many of our subteams are centered around the engineering aspects of the turbine, such as transmission, blades, electrical, and structure, while the outreach subteam focuses on developing the STEM curriculum to be taught on activity days. 
 

 WHAT WE DO
Design, build, and implement small­ scale wind turbines in order to collaborate with educational communities to engage students and the general public in STEM fields and renewable energy. Through our work, we aim to serve society by developing sustainable, safe and functional devices that act as educational tools to both our organization and our partners.


Team History: Woven Wind began as an international team, working in Guatemala with an NGO to build small scale wind turbines. The goal was to provide people with clean energy to charge their cell phones. The blades were to be made from a material woven by the women in the village; this is the origin of Woven Wind’s name.

In 2013, Woven Wind was approached by a local 5th grade teacher, Cindy Johengen. Cindy had read William Kamkwamba’s memoir, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and was inspired to build a turbine for her classroom. Woven Wind partnered with Cindy and her students, providing educational workshops on wind turbines while designing and building one ourselves. In the spring of 2014, Woven Wind unveiled a portable wind turbine at Allen Elementary School.

The next fall, Cindy moved to A2 STEAM at Northside, an elementary and middle school that focuses on project-based learning. Woven Wind continued our partnership with Cindy, developing activity days to teach the students about wind turbines, engineering, and sustainability. For two years, Woven Wind designed and built a permanent wind turbine in collaboration with Cindy and her students. In March 2016, the turbine was installed on the roof of A2 STEAM. 

In addition to working with A2 STEAM, Woven Wind was contacted in June 2015 by the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (AAHOM). The US Department of Energy gave the City of Ann Arbor a grant to develop a wind energy education program, and the city allocated the money to AAHOM. Woven Wind was chosen as a partner on the project, and spent the past year designing and building a portable wind turbine in collaboration with AAHOM. The turbine was brought to several green energy festivals and fairs during the summer of 2016. Woven Wind also provided volunteers for the Museum’s Family Science Nights, events held to teach kids about wind energy in a fun, interactive way. 

In Fall 2016, we were approached by Ann Arbor Open School as a potential partner and began our activity days with them in Winter 2017! Our success in connecting with the students in the classroom have made the teachers, kids, and our team members very excited about working together in the fall. Our activity days were spent giving them information about what a turbine is and all of its components, coupled with many hands-on activities. In Fall 2018, we continued our informational activity days and involved the students with as much of the design process as possible. We finished our partnership in Winter of 2018 with a hand-cranked design application. 

In Fall 2019, we began a partnership with Angell Elementary. We finished a first-stage wind turbine in Winter 2020 to be tested on our campus, when the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the semester. Angell Elementary decided to suspend the partnership while their students struggled with virtual learning. Woven Wind planned ahead for a return to normal, creating activities for future students, seeking new partners for a remote format, and team-building through training and virtual game nights.

In Fall 2021, we finalized our partnership with the Rocky Mountain school in Goodnews Bay, Alaska and began our activity days with the students there. We were still coming back from many semesters of COVID-19 learning, so we also worked hard to rebuild our team through recruiting and team building. 

Achievements: Woven Wind was selected by the Ann Arbor Hands- On Museum as a partner in their wind energy education program. The city of Ann Arbor received a $300,000 grant from the US Department of Energy to develop a wind energy education program, and the city allocated the funds to the Hands-On Museum. Woven Wind received a subgrant of $5,000 to built a portable wind turbine in collaboration with AAHOM to display at green energy festivals and fairs.

Partner Organization: Rocky Mountain School

Contact: 
woven-wind-contact@umich.edu


 

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