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Students learn about power of electricity
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Morrison Elementary fifth- and sixth-grade students were offered a hair-raising experience Wednesday morning thanks to Caney Fork Electric.
“You have to get their attention and keep it,” said John Chisam, director of member services at Caney Fork Electric. “I know electricity can be boring, so it’s important for me to be entertaining.”
To bring children to the edge of their seats and laughing hysterically he, along with co-workers Vicki King, Mike Jones and Kyle Frazier, brought a machine to demonstrate the power of electricity using static electricity as part of the presentation.
Numerous children were allowed to place their hand on the machine for the hair-rising experience.
“It was fun,” said student Addyson Crouch. “I didn’t feel anything, other than the hair on my head starting to rise. They said my hair looked like a spider web.”
The school has an annual science fair. Student Layne Murphy says he will be using the information he learned to make one of those devices as an entry.
“I think it would be fun to make one of those for the science fair this year,” he said. “It was really fun, and I learned a lot.”
Chisam told students how conductors, such as metal, allow electricity to move freely. Semi-conductors, such as trees, allow electricity to go through in certain situations. Insulators, such as wood, will not allow electricity to move through.
Chisam says trees have moisture that allows electricity to flow, while wood is dry and does not. Humans are semi-conductors.
“You are a semi-conductor because you have moisture in your body,” Chisam said. “You allow electricity to flow, somewhat. Electricity wants to go to the ground. If it goes through you to get there, depending on how it goes into the body, it can kill you.”
The brain and the heart produce electricity. When man-made electricity flows through the human body, it interferes with the normal process of the organs which could cause them to stop working.
Chisam told students about the static electricity ball that made their hair rise.
“A man named Tesla made a large one of these and tried to power houses with them,” he said.
Tesla’s invention produced usable electric energy from the static electricity in the environment. Electrostatic charges can be found all around the world, at any time. With proper equipment, Tesla believed these static charges could be used to produce electric current sufficient enough to power houses.
Man-made electricity and static electricity are similar, says Chisam.
“The only difference between man-made electricity and static electricity is that we can control it. Electricity is still unpredictable and can be very dangerous.”
Employees also brought an exhibit to show the process by which electricity is generated and transported to homes for people to use.
“Man-made electricity usually begins at a generator,” said Chisam. “Then, we have to figure out a way to move it from there to your house. That leads us to conductors, insulators and semi-conductors.”
Students are currently studying electricity, atoms and energy.
“We are learning about electricity in fifth grade,” said teacher Tina Boivin. “We are learning about atoms and energy in fourth grade. This goes along with what we are learning at this time.”
Hands-on is the way to go when it comes to science, says Boivin.
“Next week, they will be working with snaptricity sets to learn what types of material are conductors, semi-conductors and insulators. When it comes to science, students learn more with hands-on activities.”
Snaptricity sets are smaller versions of what the students saw during the presentation. They are used to allow students to participate in the process safely.
Chisam ended the presentation by reminding children about the dangers of electricity and the importance of conservation.
“I know we have had some fun here today, but electricity is dangerous. Don’t mess around with it. If anything, conserve it. The more you conserve, the cheaper it is. It’s one of our most valuable resources. Once it’s used, it’s gone.”
To learn more about the presentation, contact Caney Fork Electric Cooperative at 473-3116.