Spreading the buzz on electricity: 4 ways Hydro Ottawa’s engaging students

What happens when you pack dozens of primary school students in a gymnasium and try to teach them about electricity?

If you have kids this age, you know very well the challenge facing the person at the front of the room.

And yet, teaching children about electricity – be it safety or the importance of saving energy or how it all works – is so important. That’s why we have talented and knowledgeable partners we work with, like our Electricity Safety and Conservation (ES&C) presenters, to reach out to the leaders of tomorrow in ways they can get excited about it.

If your kids have come home with energy worksheets or talked to you about an electrified pickle, they may have been to one of our ES&C presentations. It’s a 17-year-old initiative that has us visiting schools throughout the community to help kids learn that there’s a lot that goes into powering their devices, and how to be careful around it.

But there are other ways we’re getting the word out, as well.

One of our new programs is working with TREC education in schools to explore renewable energy through hands-on workshops, where youngsters become engineers for the day to build wind turbines and solar energy systems. This gives those in Grades 5 to 7 the chance to learn about energy generation in an interactive, productive setting.

Back at our own offices, we welcome the Grade 9 students of employee families to spend a day learning about our business in the annual Take Our Kids to Work Day. Teens who visit Hydro Ottawa have an action-packed, fun-filled day of interesting activities awaiting them outside the confines of a boardroom. They get to tour of the oldest operating hydroelectric generating station in Canada, Chaudière Falls; visit behind-the-scenes of our system control centre, where we track power outages; and take bucket truck rides to see the city from 50 feet up in the air.

Lastly, we support a number of youth-focused organizations and initiatives year-round through contributions, like our commitment to Christie Lake Kids. In 2013, we set up a sustainable youth leadership centre where teenaged leaders-in-training get to live and work as part of a sustainable community using alternative energy. The lake-side centre has features like solar cells to power lights, and a human-powered pump and gravity-pressurized water system to draw water from the lake.

So whether it’s in a busy auditorium, intimate classroom setting, inside a bucket truck or at a generating station, Hydro Ottawa makes it a priority to engage the next generation about the ABCs and 123s of electricity.