When Eudora High School math teacher Scott Keltner teaches his students how to calculate rates next semester, he hopes to be standing in front of a wind turbine next to the school’s football field.
This month, the school received the final sign-off from the city of Eudora to build the turbine. Now, it’s just a matter of raising the funds to cover the cost of installing it. While the school’s administration encouraged the project, it did so with one caveat: The district didn’t have any money to spend.
“We’ve got all the dominoes set up, and are just ready to knock them over,” Keltner said.
Keltner has been applying for grants to help fund the project, which could cost between $8,000 and $10,000 to install. In the best of circumstances, the tower could be up by graduation, but it might have to wait until football season or longer.
The 51-foot high turbine with six-foot blades will stand just inside the district’s stadium fence.
With the right wind speeds, the turbine would generate 2.4 kilowatts of electricity. A nearby transformer has the ability to feed 120 volts to the stadium’s press box and concession stand. The energy won’t be enough to power all the overhead lights of a night football game, but it could help cover the fewer number of lights left on for nighttime walkers and runners, plus two drink coolers in the concession stand.
But Keltner sees the greatest potential in the classroom.
Along with being a tool to better demonstrate a real-world use of rates, the wind turbine generates data that students can use to build graphs, compute standard deviations and calculate long-term averages.
Those concepts are easier to grasp when students can feel 12 mph winds and see the blades spinning, Keltner said.
Keltner also hopes it will inspire students to become interested in the renewable energy industry. He points to the booming number of students looking to be wind turbine technicians.
“It seems to be a reasonable way to approach students that here is an emerging job field, here is what you can do with it, this could be the wave of the future for our state,” Keltner said.