Unitil, (unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, resumed its spring tradition of energizing fifth-graders science skills.
The utility company pioneered the annual classroom program—that teaches students about electrical circuits—for the science portion of the MCAS test. “We had to suspend our program during the pandemic, so we are pleased to be back on our regular spring schedule. The teachers really appreciate the initiative because the students are working hands-on with circuit boards and magnets,” said Unitil’s Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara.
Unitil consultant Neil Clark designs and teaches the curriculum to adhere to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) science, technology and engineering standards. It’s collaborative, with the students creating open and closed circuits with batteries, wires and flashlight bulbs. They 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 discusses electric safety, including who to call when they see downed wires and how to protect younger children from the potential hazard.
The company held classes this past fall for those who missed it during the spring of 2021 due to the pandemic. The initiative started out as a pilot program in 2003 and has since reached over 10,000 students. This fall, Clark will teach nearly 25 classes in Lunenburg’s Middle School, Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend, Fitchburg’s Memorial Middle School, McKay Arts Academy School and Arthur M. Longsjo Jr. Middle School.
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.
Teaser Photo: Guillermo Escobar (left) and Kassandra Eboli test circuits in Mrs. Fish’s fifth-grade classroom at McKay Arts Academy School, Fitchburg, as part of Unitil’s annual program that teaches students about electrical circuits for the science portion of the MCAS test.
Article Photo: Unitil’s Kevin Parse works with Jo’eliel Lopez in Mrs. Fish’s fifth-grade classroom at McKay Arts Academy School, Fitchburg, as part of the utility company's annual program that teaches students about electrical circuits for the science portion of the MCAS test.