If you want to learn about electricity, what better place to go than to your local utility company. That’s what Groton’s local STEM Scouts program decided – turning their quest for knowledge into a masterclass in electricity taught by Groton Utilities’ Electric Division last Wednesday.
STEM Scouts Post 1027, a co-ed program of the Boy Scouts of America, spent the afternoon at the Electric Division Operations Building learning the ins and outs of electricity – with a notable concentration on safety. Steve Schaub, Jake Phillips and Kurt Collelo led the group of children, ranging in age from 8 to 11 years old, through a thorough, interactive program that kept the kids moving and on their toes throughout.
GU Leader Electrician Steve Schaub welcomed the scouts to Groton Utilities and explained a few basics of electricity. Afterwards, the floor was turned over to Journeyperson Lineperson Jake Phillips for the bulk of the afternoon program. Jake explained many fundamentals in electricity using Groton’s unique teaching tool the “Hazard Hamlet”, which allows for the easy-to-understand demonstration of what could happen in different trouble scenarios using a small jolt of electricity to a neighborhood demonstration model. When the kids heard the buzz and saw the spark of electricity in the model, they knew something bad would have happened had the situation been a real-life situation. The Scouts found this educational and, of course, very entertaining.
Further demonstrations included the proper use of linemen gloves, harnesses, how to walk through puddles during dangerous circumstances and a tour of the garage containing all of Groton Utilities Electric Division vehicles.
STEM Scouts Post 1027 is our local division of this national program, consisting of students from grades 3-6. They meet weekly at Claude Chester Elementary School. Elementary STEM Scouts tinker, explore and get creative doing hands-on activities in weekly lab meetings and monthly field trips.
The STEM Scouts program’s mission is using experiential activities and interaction with STEM professionals. The goal of the STEM Scouts program is to help young people grow in character and skills as they explore their curiosity about STEM fields. It is hoped that their growing knowledge will translate into the STEM-related careers that are so crucial to our country’s future economy. It is a coed program of the Boy Scouts of America that offers a scouting experience with less emphasis on the outdoors.
The visit to Groton Utilities was arranged by Matthew Scully, the lab manager of the Groton STEM Scout Post, as part of the post’s four-week laboratory on electricity. There is nothing like learning about real-world topics out in the real world with true professionals, and GU’s Electric Division provided a glimpse into how electricity really works and how to work with it safely.