School presentation sparks enthusiasm for electricity

By Tara Miller, Manager of Communications, Central Electric

The gymnasium buzzed with excitement as Woonsocket fourth and fifth graders learned the fundamentals of electricity and electrical safety on March 21.

Co-ops in the Classroom is an interactive program offered to area schools by Central Electric Cooperative and its wholesale power provider, East River Electric Power Cooperative.

Protons, neutrons, electrons, insulators and conductors were major topics of discussion as students took an educational journey into the exciting world of electricity. 

Jennifer Gross, Education and Outreach Coordinator for East River Electric, engages students in hands-on demonstrations during the presentation. She teaches children about electrical safety, generation, conservation and economics. 

A Van de Graaff generator demonstrates the movement of electrons with some hair-raising results. 

“Playing with static electricity can be fun and educational,” said Gross. “The Van de Graaff generator shows how electricity travels. Students get a kick out of seeing their hair stand up and shocking their friends.”

Another device that invokes a lot of excitement is the pedal powered bicycle generator. Students are asked to become power plants as they provide energy for lights and small household devices.

“Pedal power turns the concept of electricity from something abstract into something tangible,” Gross said. “By providing the energy needed to turn on a light bulb, the students are able to quantify how much more energy an incandescent light bulb requires compared to an LED.”

Kids also learned about electrical safety on the farm and in town. By the end of the presentation, students developed a new understanding and appreciation for electricity.

Central Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative serving 4,900 mostly rural members in Aurora, Brule, Buffalo, Davison, Hanson, Jerauld, Miner and Sanborn Counties.

…See pictures in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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