Learning with a jolt of fun

NEWPORT BEACH — Mariners Elementary School second-graders came up with answers for who "invented" electricity — Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison, they responded — but the question turned out to be a trick.

A learning trick, that is.

"But you guys, nobody invented electricity," said Alicia Kercheville, speaker for Science on the Go. "Electricity has always been here."

Mariners hosted Science on the Go, a mobile program that gives hands-on science lessons to students around Southern California, so each grade level can get an extra lesson on electricity.

In the second-grade demonstration March 25, students learned about the difference between static and current electricity, safety tips for using electrical objects, including during thunderstorms, and had a chance to see how electricity works first-hand through a number of kid-friendly activities.

"It was cool," said 7-year-old Katelyn Christensen. "I kind of knew some of it, but I didn't know all of it."

Students witnessed static electricity in action when Kercheville put a long, brown wig on a silver metal globe that was an electrostatic generator creating 110 volts of static electricity.

The students roared with laughter, turning around to catch their friends' eyes as the hair rose up making a halo around the globe.

"It was awesome," Gray Hemans, 7, said about the experiment.

They also practiced closing the circuit to make current electricity work with their hands around a small chick that chirped, or using their entire bodies to make the electricity flow to a small ball that lit up.

Getting to touch stuff instead of just listening was the best part, Gray said.

She added that she can't wait for next time "to touch some more stuff and see more cool things."

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