Area fifth-graders got the opportunity to test their science knowledge over the past two weeks, using a hands-on program developed and taught by Unitil.
“This will be the twelfth consecutive year we have taught the program, which provides an important refresher to the students prior to MCAS testing,” said Alec O’Meara, media relations manager. “The teachers enjoy having an outside resource and the students love that it is hands-on learning.”
Unitil consultant Neil Clark sets the students to work in small groups, creating open and closed circuits using batteries, wires and flashlight bulbs. Students also learn how an electromagnet works, using a simple bolt, wire and small battery.
In addition to reviewing the science of electricity with the students, Clark also discusses electric safety, including what to do when they see downed wires, whom to call and how to protect younger children from the potential hazard.
Unitil developed the classroom program in 2004 to help students improve their scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) science test.
This year alone, Clark will teach more than 25 classes in three communities.
Fifth-grade students from Lunenburg’s Turkey Hill Middle School, Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend, Fitchburg’s Memorial Middle School and Arthur M. Longsjo Jr. Middle School participated in the program.
Massachusetts requires that students be tested and meet certain minimum requirements because of the Education Reform Law of 1993.
Unitil provides electric service to Ashby, Fitchburg, Lunenburg and Townsend, and natural gas service to those communities, as well as Gardner and Westminster.