Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Field Trip 1: Florida Keys Electrical Cooperative
Our local playgroup, Keys Kids Playgroup, always has fantastic field trips planned. It's for children from 0 to 6, and I've always taken son to these since he was little. However, now that he's five, I find he listens and understands a whole lot more and can ask intelligent questions. It's marvelous seeing him grow and change.
Yesterday we visited the Florida Keys Electrical Cooperative, our local power company. I was so excited as son and I just covered the four forms of energy in BFSU's C-1 Thread Concepts of Energy. This was perfect! It was our first formal field trip of the year. Before this we visited the Wild Bird Center and Zoo, but I didn't require a field trip report. The kids watched a short video on the dangers of electricity and how to keep safe with Cato the Cat. They found out that electricity has a negative and a positive side to it. They also learned about avoiding electrical outlets when wet.
Son learned a lot about the dangers of power lines, and how to avoid them. Here in Florida we are especially likely to encounter downed power lines after a storm. It's important to know to avoid these and to call the electrical company as soon as possible. The employees have a neat little Keys town with a man and woman and real functioning power lines, and they show how the people can get electrocuted by showing the electricity running through their bodies. We learned that water conducts electricity and our bodies are made up of 75% water. That means that we are very much at risk for getting electrocuted and need to go indoors in case of lightning. Here is one guy showing how a person gets electrocuted by touching a ladder to the power line (the orange shows the electricity, its sounded like tzztt... really cool):
The highlight of the trip was when the kids got to see a cherry picker go way, way up. The kids especially enjoyed being allowed to honk the horn of the cherry picker truck multiple times. Loud, but fun.
Mom learned a thing or two as well. I didn't know that the only thing from keeping these guys from getting electrocuted in the truck is the polyethylene bucket within the fiberglass cherry picker bucket. If this plastic bucket gets punctured the guy would easily get electrocuted. Ouch! It takes approximately five years to get the training necessary to do this job, and ten years to get proficient at it. And apparently it's pretty good money.
The people at the FL Keys Cooperative were so friendly and great hosts to our group: the kids got an array of snacks and drinks to choose from, such as gold fish, graham crackers, apple juice, punch and water. At the end they received a packet with crayons, an activity book about electrical safety, some Christmas pencils and Christmas-themed erasers -- very cute. Thank you, Florida Keys Electrical Cooperative!
When husband came home, son was telling him all about what he learned, including "don't get a kite that's stuck on the power lines" and "don't ever, ever throw a rock at the power lines". When we got home we filled out our Field Trip Report. I asked him the questions, he told me his answers and I wrote them down. He liked his field trip and his favorite part? "All of it," he says.
It was a fun day and we learned a lot. Next year when we add another layer to son's scientific understanding we'll be glad to visit again.