Unitil's Neil Clark works with Landon Martins and Michael Daly (right), as they test their predications in Ms. Bakaysa's class at Turkey Hill Middle School, Lunenburg, Mass.
For the past 13 years, fifth-graders have had the opportunity to test their science knowledge every spring, using a hands-on program developed and taught by Unitil.
“Students really enjoy the hands-on portion of the curriculum, which reviews items that will be on the MCAS test,” said Alec O’Meara, media relations manager. “The program also gets positive feedback from the teachers, since it’s a great freshener right before the test.”
Unitil consultant Neil Clark sets the students to work in small groups, creating open and closed circuits with 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, 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, and Fitchburg’s Memorial Middle School and Arthur M. Longsjo Jr. Middle School are participants 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.