Student News

Dunwoody electrical students teach Richfield fourth graders

Dunwoody electrical students stood in front of an elementary classroom answering the kinds of questions that captivate young minds: “Why do birds not get shocked on wires?”  “Why do insulators not let electricity pass through?” and “What do electricians do?”

More than a dozen Dunwoody students became teachers for a day, trying to inspire the next wave of electricians by sharing their knowledge of how conductors and insulators work in circuits with fourth-grade students at Centennial Elementary School in Richfield.

Electrical Construction Design & Management student Ian Herubin teaches fourth graders at
Centennial Elementary School in Richfield about electrical circuits.

The elementary students spent the last few weeks studying electricity, but were still struggling to grasp the concepts of open and closed circuits so an instructor at the school reached out to Dunwoody Electrical Construction & Maintenance Assistant Professor Polly Friendshuh.

“She felt that having electricians come in to explain it would be more beneficial to her students, not to mention more fun,” Friendshuh said.

Friendshuh thought it would benefit her students, as well. “You tend to learn something more fully when you have to teach it,” she said.

That lesson resonated with Dunwoody students who are members of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) student chapter.

“By teaching a group, I am able to reinforce what I have learned in my own coursework,” said Electrical Construction Design & Management student Robert Nelson. But it is also exciting “to see how kids respond to learning something completely new.”

Polly Friendshuh, Assistant Professor of Electrical Construction & Maintenance, spent the morning with a handful of electrical students and fourth graders at
Centennial Elementary School in Richfield, talking about electricity and explaining circuits.

The opportunity was designed to bring Dunwoody’s dynamic, talented students into classrooms so they can evangelize a skilled vocation that might not occur to children.

And they also brought Dunwoody’s philosophy of hands-on learning to the elementary students.

One by one the children approached the students to examine two circuit boards held by Dunwoody students. They took turns flipping switches on the boards. The one that had an exposed conductor turned on a light bulb, thrilling the students.

“Watching the kids’ faces light up when we let them play with the circuit,” was a highlight for Electrical Construction Design & Management student, Ian Herubin, who said he did not have this type of opportunity when he was younger.

Brynn Pavlica, president of the NECA student chapter and an Electrical Construction & Maintenance student, traveled the room, going to each cluster of desks. She first showed the children electrical wires and how to strip them, exposing the conductors. She then handed them a stripping tool to try it themselves.

Electrical Construction & Maintenance student, Brynn Pavlica, spent the morning with the fourth graders explaining circuits, and teaching children how to strip wires.

“I realized how important it is to introduce kids at this age to STEM classes and projects,” she said.

I would have become an electrician way earlier, I think, had I been more exposed to STEM labs,” she said.

Friendshuh plans to continue bringing Dunwoody students to the elementary school in coming years. She said giving back to the community should be part of who we are as people, educators, and a college.

“It is so important to educate them on the benefits of a technical education,” Friendshuh said.

After the presentation, they asked the fourth-graders what they wanted to do when they grow up.

“We had two of the young ladies say they wanted to be electricians,” she said.