Curriculum & Materials

Illinois Wind for Schools

Using an interdisciplinary and applied research approach, the Illinois Wind for Schools program operated from 2011-2014 academic years and incorporated wind energy into classrooms across the state.  The program combined classroom curriculum and instruction, design and experimentation (lab) activities, real-world data collection using professional-quality weather instrumentation located on the school premises, data manipulation, energy forecasting, and scientific analysis. Curriculum resources and wind industry links can be found here.

The Illinois Wind for Schools program was funded by a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

National Wind for Schools: The Open Energy Information Initiative – U.S. Department of Energy

The Open Energy Information ( initiative is a free, open source knowledge-sharing platform created to facilitate access to data, models, tools, and information that accelerate the transition to clean energy systems through informed decisions.  Western Illinois University’s small wind turbine reports to the OpenEI database along with many other Illinois schools.


Illinois Renewable Energy for Schools

UPDATE: (May 1, 2015) We recently received notification from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that the grant funding for the program has been suspended due to the state’s financial condition.  As a result, the REFS workshops scheduled have been put on hold until further notice.  We will post any program updates as they become available.

The Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University are pleased to announce a new teacher workshop for the summer of 2015: Illinois Renewable Energy for Schools Program. Application for the workshop is free. Maximum enrollment for each workshop is 25 participants. Two workshop locations will be offered during the summer of 2015: June 16th at Illinois State University, Normal, IL and August 5th at Argonne Learning Center at Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL. Applications are due April 1, 2015.


Illinois Pathways: Energy Learning Exchange

Illinois State University leads the state’s Energy Learning Exchange (ELE), a statewide exchanges developed from a public-private partnership of universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, companies, labor unions, and other public and private organizations and individuals. The mission is to further Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning, preparing students for career pathways in energy and provide Illinois companies with a superior energy workforce. Classroom resources, speaker’s bureau, and curriculum activities are available.



Illinois Open Educational Resources – Energy Learning Exchange STEM Library


Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation

The mission of ICECF is to improve energy efficiency, advance the development and use of renewable energy resources, and protect natural areas and wildlife habitat in communities all across Illinois. Through its grant program, the Foundation supports environmental best practices to create a healthy and prosperous Illinois. Financial support is provided for programs and projects that benefit the public by:

  • Implementing and improving the use of energy efficiency technologies and methods that can decrease pollution and reduce energy costs for Illinois consumers.
  • Developing and increasing the use of renewable energy resources – wind power, solar power, biomass energy and innovative new technologies such as fuel cells – that can decrease pollution, diversify Illinois’ energy portfolio and create economic benefits for the state’s communities.
  • Preserving and enhancing natural areas and wildlife habitats throughout Illinois.

Teacher Resources

The ICECF’s Illinois Solar Schools and Illinois Wind Schools programs are designed to help students, teachers, and communities understand more about renewable energy by providing grants to install working solar and wind technology at K-12 schools across Illinois. Classroom resources available through this site include real-time data dashboards for wind and solar projects and STEM renewable energy lesson plans.



U.S. Department of Energy – Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

U.S. DOE provides several science education resources about wind energy and other technologies:

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wind Power
Wind power technologies have come a long way. You might be surprised by what you don’t know about this rising star in renewable energy.
Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Distributed Wind Power
What makes “distributed” wind power different? Discover ten things you might not know about this branch of wind energy technology.
Quiz: Test Your Wind Energy IQ
Now that you’ve learned about wind and distributed wind power technologies, are you ready for a little quiz?



Educational Resources

NREL provides a variety of educational resources to help students, teachers, and parents educate their kids about renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, including hands-on projects and curriculum suggestions for elementary school, middle school, and high school students.

Additional Links:

“Mapping how the United States generates its electricity”

July 31, 2015: The Washington Post reports on how coal and natural gas are the most common sources for electricity in the country, but coal represents a declining share. The new Clean Power Plan seeks to accelerate that trend by requiring power plants to cut carbon pollution levels and rewarding states and companies that embrace clean sources of energy. Story: White House set to adopt sweeping curbs on carbon pollution  By John Muyskens, Dan Keating and Samuel Granados