LIMA — Students formed a circle, their hands outstretched and touching one another.
The energy traveling through their bodies was enough to activate a small sensory stick, which buzzed with flashes of color until the chain was broken again—the first lesson on open and closed circuits for Sherrie Shaver’s fourth-grade class at Liberty Arts Magnet School, which partnered with the Science Enhancement for Science Advancement (SESA) on Wednesday for an introduction to electricity.
“(We want) them to be active and excited about science,” said Rachel Smith, an instructor for SESA, an educational program sponsored by local companies to provide free, hands-on science education for Allen County students.
Electricity, Smith told the class, is a source of energy that can power everything from schools and households to remote controls they use to control their televisions.
That energy is generated by a variety of sources, she said, ranging from wind, water and solar energy to coal or chemicals.
To demonstrate, Smith had students build their own simple circuits using battery packs, a few alligator clips and lamp holders.
When connected correctly, the circuits lit a miniature lightbulb. When students removed one of their clips, the lightbulbs quickly shut off.
Students could experiment further, adding a second lamp holder to see how different circuit configurations could dim the lightbulbs or make them shine brighter. Or, in another example, that by loosening one bulb breaks the circuit and cuts power to the second.
“My goal is to get them to understand that now the battery pack load is being divided,” Smith said.