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Hands-on science workshop electrifies studies about conductivity

Canajoharie’s media specialist visited Fort Plain with her student interns to give fourth graders a science workshop.

high school student leads a lesson for fourth graders in a school computer lab
Canajoharie High School students helped bring science lessons to life for fourth graders at Harry Hoag Elementary during a special workshop.

Add a little Play-Doh to some wires, and you’ve got yourself a makeshift controller to play video games. Plug the wires into some bananas and you’ve got a digital piano.

Student uses science kit to create a game controller out of Play-Doh.
Fourth graders David Hillsgrove, left, and Blake Battisti test out video game controllers they made using Play-Doh and a science kit called Makey Makey.

It was an electric lesson for the fourth grade students at Harry Hoag Elementary, thanks to Canajoharie High School’s computer science students. Tammy Jones, Canajoharie’s media specialist, visited Fort Plain with her student interns to give the fourth graders a workshop about electricity and conductivity.

Canajoharie ninth graders Conner Ambridge, Vincenzo Decrescenzo, Skylar Ferrara, Aiden Hoag, Ryley Myers and Henry Yerdon showed the fourth graders how to use a science kit called Makey Makey. It turns everyday objects into touch pads using cables and alligator clips.

In addition to creating game controllers and musical instruments, students themselves became a circuit. Students joined hands, while a person on one end touched the ground board, and a person on the other touched the banana piano. Students were wowed to hear the banana piano sound off, learning electricity travels through each person to complete the circuit.

“The fourth graders are learning about electricity and conductivity, and this workshop helped bring their studies to life,” Matt Heiser said. He is the Technology Integration Specialist at Harry Hoag Elementary who worked with Jones to set up the workshops. “Mrs. Jones’ interns did an amazing job and we are grateful that our students had this opportunity.”

Students hold hands in a circle in a computer lab
Fourth graders at Harry Hoag got an electric lesson in conductivity from Canajoharie High School’s computer science students. They learned about circuits and how electricity passes through objects.