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Students explore electricity and magnetism at Peachland Elementary School

Get your motor running

Posted: January 22, 2009 9:28 p.m.
Updated: January 23, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Fourth-grader Jesus Hernandez makes a mini-motor spin by using magnets.

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Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Peachland Elementary School put their heads together and built magnet-powered motors and electromagnets Thursday.

The demonstration, initiated by The Energy Coalition's science education program, encourages students to explore how magnetism and electricity work.

Program manager Trisha Ortega taught students about the importance of conserving energy to improve the environment.

"I'm learning about not using too much energy," said fourth-grader Delia Cruz-kelly. "Like when you're not at home, turn off all the lights. Use hybrid cars and solar panels."

Fourth-grader Noah Dent enjoyed the motor-building project, he said.

"My favorite thing was learning about how the motor runs, what makes it run, and how fast it will run," he said.

Cruz-kelly helped several other students in her team assemble a motor. "We used a transformer, coil wire and magnets," she said.

Fourth-grader Paige Aman wound copper wire into an one-inch-diameter circle to use in constructing her team's motor. "It's kind of interesting to make things and learn how things work," she said.

The coalition's program is a nonprofit organization that teaches kids about energy conservation and how energy is generated, said Paul Zamperin, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Peachland.

"They instruct teachers how to bring (these topics) into the classroom," he said. "Part of their goal is to get us focused on energy conservation."

It also encourages teachers to facilitate hands-on projects that allow students to build things like the magnet-powered motors and electromagnets, he said. "It's an enrichment program in that the kids actually get to build things and play away with them," Zamperin said. "Otherwise, it's a very difficult concept to grasp."

Peachland students gain the skills to reduce home energy use by up to 10 percent Thursday.

The program is funded by California Utility Repairs and administered by Southern California Edison and the Gas Company, in collaboration with The Energy Coalitions.
The Web site is


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