Energy Education Continues Virtually in 2022
February 22, 2022
Every year as part of Stearns Electric Association’s commitment to safety and community, we present an energy efficiency and electrical safety demonstration to local fourth grade classrooms throughout our service territory.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Stearns Electric presenters used Zoom or Google Meet technology to connect with classrooms and present Energy Education virtually this year. One of the Cooperative’s conference rooms was turned into the Energy Education ‘studio’ with the same display we typically bring into the classroom.
“Our Energy Education program is a highlight for many students every year, and we didn’t want this year’s students to miss out,” Stearns Electric’s Energy Education Coordinator Katie Anderson said. “Being in person is more fun for everyone, but the virtual option is a great alternative to be able to still share this important safety message to students across our service territory.”
In 2022, we presented to over 1,550 students at 30 schools throughout Central Minnesota.
All classrooms received a pre-recorded video, which educated students about the basics of electricity, including the seven types of generation fuels, conductors and insulators, our nation’s power grid and Stearns Electric’s local distribution system. We asked the teachers to show this video to their classrooms ahead of the live safety demonstration.
Wayne Senst and Levi Jessen, Stearns Electric line workers, then took turns facilitating the virtual, live safety demonstration. The display features an electric home and farm model where students see first-hand what can happen when people, vehicles or equipment come into contact with electricity.
“The interaction with the students and answering their questions is my favorite part of our presentations, despite being virtual,” Jessen said. “It’s fun when we get recognized by students out in the field and they tell us what they learned.”
“It’s important for the students to learn the dangers of electricity and how to be safe around it,” Senst added. “Our goal is that they are able to go home and share what they learned with their family so everyone can stay safe around electricity.”
The most important safety takeaway from the presentation is teaching the students what to do if a vehicle hits a power pole or other electrical equipment.
“The biggest lesson that I hope the students remember from the demonstration is what to do if the vehicle they are in hits any sort of electrical equipment,” Senst said. “Hopefully our presentation reminds them to always stay in their vehicle unless it were to start on fire.”
Although the virtual program went well again this year, we are looking forward to being back in the classrooms as soon as we can.
“The virtual presentations are not ideal, but we’ve continued to find ways to make them the best they can be and still be interactive for the students,” Jessen said. “I really enjoy being able to share my knowledge with the students.”
“While the arcs and sparks are still fun for the students to see, the impact of students seeing them in person makes a big difference. We’re excited for the chance to hopefully be back in the classrooms next year,” Senst added.
Stearns Electric values community involvement and public safety. Our Energy Education presentations reinforce these important messages with the hope that local students will bring their new electrical efficiency and safety knowledge home to their families.
For more information on our annual Energy Education programming, please visit www.stearnselectric.org. You can also visit the Stearns Electric Facebook page to see more photos at www.facebook.com/stearnselectric.
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