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Okatie Elementary Students Excited by Electricity

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Bree Lauffer’s third and fourth grade students at Okatie Elementary have always been excited to learn about electricity. But studying electricity from a book isn’t the same as hands on education. And that’s exactly what the Foundation along with the Bargain Box of Hilton Head helped to provide through a grant for Bree’s project “It’s Electrifying! Strengthening our Scientific Argumentation Skills through Hands-On Exploration.”

The funds allowed for the purchase of 50 hands-on, reusable kits that allowed students to explore circuitry, magnetic fields and electromagnetic currents. These activities allowed students to learn about electricity in fun and new ways.

Students began learning basic concepts of simple and parallel circuits. Through their discoveries, students were eventually able to build on/off switches to open and close the currents. Other activities also included learning about the triboelectric effect by rubbing rods on various types of materials, learning about measuring electricity with a fruit battery, and building an electromagnet. These collected experiences were then used as evidence to make scientific claims of the various science concepts.

Through these activities, students were paired up to provide opportunities to enhance communication and collaboration skills within the diverse student population.

In a post assessment after the activities, data indicated that students benefited from creating a science environment which allowed them to create and test different devices for transferring and converting energy into different types. Students were also able to learn through investigation that hand cranks (motion) can be converted into light and sound energy. Using a solar panel, the students observed how the light converted into energy to help light up a lightbulb.

With the purchase of these kits, the lessons will continue to have an impact on many students at Okatie Elementary School as the projects are reusable year after year. Each student in third and fourth grade will also continue to be exposed to the interactive experiences during their related arts time to help support science learning in their regular classrooms. These building and exploration opportunities not only aim to increase cognitive processing but aim to spark excitement and cooperative experiences as well.

Bree looks forward to continuing to look for innovative ways to help students better understand electricity and magnetism using the kits funded by the grant from the Foundation and the Bargain Box of Hilton Head. Afterall, what better way to get kids excited to learn than SHOWING them the concepts in real life? Watching a real light bulb light up and then watching the “light bulb” light up in the students’ minds as they grasp a new concept…is absolutely priceless. And that’s what education is all about…


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