Rural Missouri - September 2021 - 9

Left: Central Electric Power Cooperative Senior Education Specialist Keith Mueller demonstrates possible electrical hazards during a presentation
at Mizzou. Right: Gabe Twellman with Cuivre River Electric Cooperative answers questions about the co-op's electric vehicle from Heather
Anderson, a science teacher at Fort Zumwalt West High School in St. Peters.
by Paul Newton | pnewton@ruralmissouri.coop
S
chool started early for 31 middle and high school
science teachers as they participated in the 2021
Energy in Today's Classroom. The two-day event
hosted by Central Electric Power Cooperative and
the University of Missouri gives the teachers a unique
and deeper understanding of how electricity is generated,
transmitted and distributed to members at the end of the
line. Since it began in 2013, more than 200 teachers have
left the program armed with knowledge and a curriculum
to take back to their students.
The program came about as Central's education
department - which gives presentations to
schools within its service area - realized there was
something missing in the schools. " We would go into
the classrooms and see a lot of confusion or misinformation
about electricity, " says Mark Newbold,
Central's vice president of administrative services.
" We thought as a cooperative, education and training
is a core principle so we started to pursue this. "
The collaboration between the Jefferson City-based
transmission co-op and Mizzou gives the teachers a combination
of classroom and hands-on training to prepare
for the upcoming year. Sessions include presentations on
power generation, energy effi ciency and the economics of
the industry. Outside the classroom, teachers build a circuit,
check out electric vehicles and the class culminates
with a tour of Mizzou's on-campus power plant.
" We thought as a cooperative, education and training
" It's good to do the power plant last, " explains Mark. " At
that point they've listened to the instructors in the classroom
and then they can actually see it in action and all
that's involved. "
Leon Schumacher, a professor and program coordinator
of the Mizzou Agriculture Systems Technology Department,
teaches at the program he helped start eight years
ago. " Electricity can be very safe, but it also can be a little
bit scary, " he says. " We're trying to bring more information
to the teachers so they can see it from different points
of view, whether that be from industry or academia. A lot
of us just turn the lights on and expect them to work; we
Columbia
don't think of everything that goes into that. "
The electric vehicle demonstration and discussion was
also a high point for the teachers. Employees from Cuivre
River, Boone and Callaway electric cooperatives brought
their electric vehicles in for the teachers to look through
and learn about.
" It's good to have our distribution co-ops talk about
their electric vehicles, " Mark says. " They can candidly answer
their questions and share their fi rsthand knowledge
of them, whether it's good or bad. "
Teachers are sent home with new curriculum ideas to
tailor to their classroom as well as teaching aids
such as a solar kit, hand generator, shake fl ashlight
and more. Peggy Veatch is a science teacher
at Eldon High School who was sponsored by
Three Rivers Electric Cooperative.
" I'm always looking for ways to integrate
areas where I'm not the strongest to support
my students at school, " she says. " I came
here for my science research class, but realized
that I can use a lot of this information
when I talk about energy in other classes. "
Initially, the program was only open to teachers within
Central's service area, which includes eight central Missouri
distribution cooperatives spanning from Sedalia to
Troy. The course has grown and evolved to now include
teachers statewide and parts of Iowa and Oklahoma.
Keith Mueller is Central's senior education specialist
and teaches some of the more interactive sessions. He says
the success of the class has been on the evolution of the
curriculum based on feedback from the teachers. " We've
evolved to incorporate more of the items that the teachers
are teaching their students, " he says. " So we want this
information to travel back to the classrooms with them. If
we hear the teachers are doing more on circuits at school,
we'll do more with circuits here. We just want to enhance
their classroom performance with what they do. "
For more information about Energy in Today's Classroom
or to inquire about the 2022 class, contact your local electric
cooperative.
SEPTEMBER 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP 9
http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Rural Missouri - September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - September 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - September 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - September 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - September 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - September 2021 - 4
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