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Canyon Creek Middle School students electrified by the study of electricity - 11/24/15
Washougal, WA - Canyon Creek Middle School students made a visit to the Bonneville Power Association laboratories at the Ross Complex in Vancouver, Wash. for an up-close look at how electricity works in the Northwest. The field trip took place on October 21, 2015 and focused on the high voltage and mechanical testing labs. Two BPA engineers lead the student tours and conducted several demonstrations around energy and power distribution.

"Our seventh grade science students are expected to develop and use models for carrying out investigations, analyze and interpret data from their investigations, and design solutions," said Rhonda Reeser, CCMS 7th grade science teacher. "Visiting the labs at BPA provided our students the opportunity to witness engineers putting those practices to work."

Washougal students are encouraged to look toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and Reeser said it is important, even at the middle school level, to show them what jobs in those fields may look like. Two BPA employees explained what paths they took to become engineers. "One received his initial training in the service while the other attended a university," said Reeser. "It was good for our students to hear them discuss how they set and then achieved their career goals."

The field trip was expected to help connect students' scientific learning to real life situations and pique their interest about the topics of energy, machines and motion to lead into their next unit of study. The experience did impress many of the students.

"I loved seeing the energy pass through the ball," said Kayla Johnson. "That example made me realize how fascinating energy is."

Alexis Gruetzke was also impressed with what was learned. "I thought it was very interesting to see what the people at BPA do and how it affects us."

"I love to give the students the opportunity to see science in action," Reeser said. "I wanted to see them awed with the power of energy and gain respect for electricity thus keeping themselves safe from its dangers."

The BPA tours are offered to school science classes throughout Clark County for one week in the fall and one week in the spring.