The fall 2011 DREAM design project required teams to design and build a working wind turbine. The turbines were tested at three wind speeds, with the most points awarded for power production at the lowest speed, forcing mentees to optimize their blade designs. The Pre-engineering Concept Inventory (PCI) and Intuition Inventory (II), which focus on wind energy, were used to measure pre- and post-content knowledge of high school mentees. The use of mini-lectures to convey content simultaneously with design is discussed.
The Inventories show that participation in DREAM generally increases mentees’ understanding of wind energy concepts. However, insufficient mathematics foundations hamper their ability to understand algebraic representations and evaluate numerical predictions. Results provide feedback on current practices and help pinpoint specific areas for improvement to increase the efficacy of DREAM in future years.