Think Energy Program Teaches Cherry Creek Students about Energy

For years, an energy program through Consumers Energy has visited students at Alto Elementary and Murray Lake Elementary schools.  Cherry Creek students were not part of the program because their building is serviced by Lowell Light & Power.  Fourth grade teacher at Cherry Creek, Lisa Cafferman and Utilities Coordinator at Lowell Light & Power (LL&P), Sharon Morris worked together to create a program for students.  Last week, classes walked to the LLP Energy Center to learn more about energy and how much of Lowell gets its power.

Winning art submission by Bella Calhown.

Leading up to the Visit
Fourth grade students have been learning about energy in the classroom as part of their science curriculum.  “Through our conversations, we decided to have them participate in the art contest during public power week, as well as discussed a field trip to our energy center to give them a safer, better understanding of how electricity and energy processes work.” says Morris of working with Cafferman.  A Powerpoint presentation was provided for teachers as an introduction to energy through LL&P. From this students worked on art projects. And a Think! Energy presentation will take place at school on Oct. 25, given by Morris.

Art projects were judged by LL&P staff as part of Public Power Week, which took place the week of Oct. 8.  The winning entry was announced prior to Harvest Celebration and is currently framed and displayed in the LL&P lobby.  Bella Calhown, the artist for the winning entry, also earned a pizza party for her class.

Visiting the Energy Center
“Anytime you can make classroom lessons come alive, the level of engagement for students is sky-high. Students will gain a better appreciation for all the work and man power behind simply turning on a light.” comments Cafferman of the new program.  “In addition, it’s important for kids to understand the environmental impact on using power and be more mindful to help reduce wasting energy.” Classroom lessons, tying art into the process, and a hands-on experience field trip makes for a more beneficial learning process.  Each fourth grade class spent nearly an hour visiting the LL&P Energy Center.

LL&P engineers Casey and Tom discussed the energy process to students.  Then in two groups, there was the opportunity to look inside the combustion turbine and talk with lineman Rich and Zac while learning about transformers.  The end of the visit was capped off with Rich and Zac showing off their pole climbing skills, demonstrating what would need to be done when a bucket truck cannot be used to reach wires.   

Beyond the Classroom
The hope is for lessons about energy will go beyond the classroom.  LL&P is unique as it is the only municipal electric utility in Kent County and one of 40 in the state.  Cafferman is impressed with the utility saying, “I hope students will appreciate power in general and LL&P in particular. What a gem we have in the Lowell community! The history and level of service LL&P provides to its customers is top-notch.”   

Gracie and Lincoln, two students from Cafferman’s classroom agreed when asked what their favorite part of visiting the Energy Center.  “I liked the guys climbing up the poles.” says Gracie. And Lincoln echos the statement saying, “I like the pole climbing, they had big spikes on their boots.”  The hope is through learning about energy at school and at the hub of energy for the City of Lowell, students will not take for granted what it takes to keep electric energy on at home and at school.  

With success in its first year, the goal is for LL&P to continue working with fourth grade teachers and students at Cherry Creek Elementary for years to come.

All photos courtesy of Lowell Light & Power and used with permission.

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