- 7 June 2019
On Monday 3rd June, BJCE Australia, the owners of Gullen Range Wind and Solar Farm, visited Wollondilly and Bradfordville Public Schools. The in-class visit was organised by RDA Southern Inland, as part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Industry School Partnership (SISP) Program, funded by the Department of Education. SISP is a program that links industry with local schools to focus the narrative on how STEM skills and knowledge can solve real-world problems.
Isabel Nelson, Community Engagement Officer, and Simon Zhao, Site Manager from Gullen Range Wind and Solar Farm led the class lesson at both schools. After a mini-lesson on wind energy, the Year 5 and 6 students were tasked with building and testing their very own anemometer, which is an instrument found on wind turbines that measures wind speed.
“We were keen for the students to learn about the design and application of an instrument used in a range of STEM fields, including meteorology and ecology”, said Isabel Nelson.
At the wind farm, anemometers perform an important control function on the wind turbine. Depending on the strength of the wind, the anemometer tells the wind turbine how to adjust the wind turbine blades to ensure maximum efficiency.
After checking out a real anemometer from the wind farm, the students worked in groups of 4-5 to build their own anemometers using everyday materials, such as paper cups and straws. To calculate approximate wind speed generated by a fan, the students counted the number of spins made by their anemometer in 10 seconds.
“By having a go at these calculations, students were able to see how mathematics skills can be applied to solve real-world problems”, said Isabel Nelson, “We were really impressed with the focus and initiative demonstrated by the students”.
Enthusiastic throughout the visit, the students asked the visitors a number of questions as well. The exercise was an important introduction to wind energy before the visit to the Gullen Range facility in the next few weeks.
Project Officer at RDA Southern Inland, Camilla Staff, emphasised the importance of these industry-school relationships.
“We are grateful to have Gullen Range Wind Farm as an industry partner for this project. They will work closely with both Wollondilly and Bradfordville Public Schools for the entire year, to better engage students in STEM learning. They will act as mentors and role-models to the students and perhaps have some influence in them choosing STEM related subjects in future years and even a STEM-related career.”