Preparing Students for Life

Preparing students for life.short-circuit

Eighth graders at Urbana Middle Schools are using circuit scribe pens to design electrical systems and experiment with electromagnetic forces. UMS science teachers Laura Hlinka and Janice Hari designed a quarter-long unit focused on the movement and exchange of various types of energy.  Hlinka and Hari were awarded an It’s My I.D.E.A. grant to purchase circuit-drawing pens for the new unit, Forces and Interactions.

short circuitThe circuit scribe pens encourage students to draw and create their own circuits, allowing knowledge to move from the theoretical to the practical. Students create, test and revise their own electric systems. The skills they learn in the process increase their independence and prepare them for life and careers.

According to Hari and Hlinka, students need hands-on, authentic learning experiences. When students engage in “real-life” activities in class, they learn skills that are directly preparing them for work. In this case, a student may become an electrician who wires circuits; they may become an engineer who designs electric systems; they may do their own home renovations someday and install new lighting in their basement.Students can carry this base knowledge directly into a career training program or an undergraduate college course.

The knowledge of electricity and magnetism is not only a required topic of the eighth grade science curriculum; it’s also empowering knowledge for life.