Daniel Grishko, Zach Martinez and Taylor Dewey-Buchanan, (l-r), photo by Cori Vaughn, WSU Spokane
 
SPOKANE – MESA (Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement) Spokane students will compete in transforming wind to energy in their annual MESA Middle School Competition. Almost 180 eighth grade MESA students from Spokane will put their windmill designs to the test from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, March 14.
This year’s event, co-sponsored by Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University and Washington State University Spokane, will take place on the Gonzaga University campus in Cataldo Hall.
 
The Wind Energy Challenge is an Engineering event where students design a windmill using materials provided by MESA. When this windmill is acted on by a standard box fan, it will create energy that can be converted into both mechanical and kinetic power.
 
The mechanical power task requires the windmill power be used to lift a mass of variable weight up to a certain height. Students are scored on how quickly they can lift the mass to 75 centimeters. The object’s mass and the time taken to lift the object will determine the power achieved (mJ/s).
 
The kinetic energy task requires the windmill power be used to pull a 200 gram student-designed vehicle 250 centimeters. The vehicle must cross the finish line in 1 minute or less. The vehicle must remain in contact with the floor throughout the trial from start to finish. The vehicle mass and speed will be used to determine the kinetic energy of the vehicle (J).
 
While every student will walk away with the understanding of how wind is transformed into energy, awards will only be given to the top three teams. The first place team will compete in May with other top finishers from around Washington at the Washington State MESA Day in Redmond at the Microsoft Campus.
 
The goal of MESA is to provide globally competitive and individually competent students in Mathematics, Engineering and science with full participation of under-represented students, including African Americans, Latinos/as, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and females of all ethnicities. This annual competition is a celebration of their efforts and an excellent opportunity to see young scientists in action.
 
The Spokane MESA center is one of six in the state of Washington. It was founded in 1989 and serves approximately 600 students at 7th-12th grade levels. Spokane MESA is supported by both Washington State University Spokane and Eastern Washington University to maintain a high level of service to the Spokane Public School District