By JESSICA HARDING
HOLMDEL — Students at Indian Hill Elementary School have been wondering lately how exactly electricity works.
Because of one of their science teachers, the students now know the answer.
Science teacher Tom Woods has provided the students with the opportunity to use a Van de Graaff generator. This piece of equipment is an electrostatic generator that uses a moving belt to accumulate electrical charge on a hollow, metal globe.
The generator was provided by Woods with the help of the Holmdel Parent Liaison Group and a grant from the Holmdel Foundation for Educational Excellence.
Holmdel’s Supervisor of Science and Math Alicia Killean is very pleased with the opportunity for the children. According to Killean, electricity and magnetism are in the district’s science curriculum in different grade levels.
“The experiments conducted by Mr. Woods and the Indian Hill students helped them to make observations and provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat and electric currents,” she said.
Through Woods’ presentations, students have learned about positive and negative electrical charges, insulators and conductors and the difference between current and static electricity.
Woods has conducted these lessons for the past 15 years and likes to work with smaller groups as opposed to one large group.
According to Woods, every child had the opportunity to become part of the experiment. Some even worked up the courage to try the generator by themselves, impressing their peers and educators.
Students valued the hands-on educational experience. Hands-on learning is the hallmark of the Holmdel School District’s K-12 science program. Students are able to conduct original research by the time they reach 10th grade.