Opportunities for K-12 Students

On average, 3,500 K-12 students per year participate in our research through hands on activities and tours of our laboratories.

Windstorm Challenge

Windstorm Challenge is a high school STEM competition that engages students with floating offshore wind technology, innovation, and business. The competition is held in the Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory. The challenge asks teams of middle and high school students to work together to design and construct a scale-model floating wind turbine platform, test the design under wind and wave conditions, and deliver a sales pitch-style presentation to a panel of judges.

Wind Blade Challenge

More than 40 Maine high school teams compete each year to create an energy-producing set of wind blades in the annual Wind Blade Challenge. Produced through hands-on science and engineering school course work, students design, infuse, manufacture and test blades, going up against competitors during the one-day challenge. Educators and manufacturers collaborate on this successful and growing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) challenge, hosted by UMaine each year, raising career aspirations for students and developing a workforce for Maine’s growing composites industry. The Wind Blade Challenge is a program of the Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative and the Maine Composites Alliance.

To learn more about the Wind Blade Challenge, visit their website.

Bring Your Classroom to the UMaine Composites Center

We welcome youth groups and classrooms of all sizes to tour our facility on a rolling basis. Most groups are at minimum 4th grade, though younger groups can be accommodated. Typical educational tours of the UMaine Composites Center last one hour. To schedule a tour for your youth group, please complete a Tour Request Form.

If your group wishes to spend the entire day at the University of Maine to gain exposure to various departments within the College of Engineering, please contact Sheila Pendse, Project Development Associate at the College of Engineering.

Activity – Build a BridgeImage of Popsicle Stick Bridge Strength Test

Ask your aspiring young engineers to design and build the strongest bridge possible from a limited supply of popsicle sticks and glue. During your tour of the UMaine Composites Center, visit the Mechanical Testing Lab to test the strength of each contestant’s bridge.

Bring the UMaine Composites Center To Your Classroom

University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H recently launched an Offshore Wind Science Toolkit, available to youth groups and classrooms. These toolkits include an how-to information, curricula, and supply lists. The Offshore Wind toolkit is geared towards grades 5-9. Click here to learn more, or to request a 4-H Science Toolkit.

For more information on how to bring the UMaine Composites Center to your classroom, contact:

Josh Plourde