April 8, 2010

It was an electric day for fourth-grade students at Lyon County Elementary when they watched a sausage and gloves go up in flames as members of a high voltage team from E.ON U.S. showed just how many things conduct electricity. Then it was on to Barkley Power Plant where they saw how water is used to produce electricity at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' facility.

The events were part of an Electricity Field Day sponsored by Lyon County 4-H. The field day was designed to teach students about electricity, including production, safety, energy efficiency and emergency preparedness. The daylong event began three years ago under the leadership of Wanda Paris, Lyon County 4H Youth development agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

"In 4-H, we're all about putting knowledge with the element to show youth how something works, and this event does that," Paris said.

To prepare for the day, fourth-grade science teacher Dianne Holt taught the students about rock cycles and fossil fuels. She'll teach an electricity unit in the coming weeks.

"This field day helps the students learn a lot before I begin teaching the unit and helps reinforce concepts in the unit," she said. "Electricity and fossil fuels are also two topics that are covered in CATS testing."

Before the students saw the high voltage demonstration and toured the power plant, employees of E. ON U.S. talked with them about electrical safety, energy efficiency, power generation and emergency preparedness during several classroom sessions. These sessions included hands-on activities where students learned the steps to producing electricity and energy efficiency comparisons between compact fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs.

Both E.ON U.S. and the Army Corps of Engineers have assisted with the field day since its inception. Jan Rose Coleman of E.ON U.S. and Brian Jones with the Army Corps of Engineers said this event allows their organizations to give back to the community and their customers.

"We want to make sure our future customers are educated about energy efficiency and electricity production and safety," Coleman said.

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