ComEd’s Smart Energy Hub, in Chicago, is now open for FREE field trips!
This past February, ComEd opened a new, state-of-the-art training facility in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, where future and current ComEd employees will learn to safely manage the smart grid, a modern electric delivery system. A feature of the center includes a Smart Energy Hub, a one-of-a-kind interactive station designed to help elementary, middle, and high school students, and adults learn about how electricity is generated and delivered, the technologies available to manage electricity usage and save money on electric bills, and how ComEd is helping to build a community of the future.
There are six stations, each with hands-on activities, for students to explore within the Smart Energy Hub.
Station #1 – Power Generation and Delivery
Students (and adults) probably haven’t thought much about the electricity in their homes and school, even though they depend on it greatly. Just flip a switch or plug in your device and it is there, right? In this introductory station, students learn just what electricity is, how it is generated, and how it travels from the power plant to the home. There is a lot of good science to explore in this station!
Station #2 – Idea Generation
After learning how electricity is generated, students have the opportunity to generate their own through movement, specifically stationary bicycles and hand cranks. Groups can see just how much electricity they would generate in one minute. Maybe enough to power a cell phone? Then students are asked to think about other ways they might be able to generate electricity.
Station #3 – The Smart Grid and The Smart Meter
Communities are becoming smarter – and it is not just your students – even the way electricity is delivered to homes, schools, and businesses is becoming more efficient and reliable. Students use an interactive screen to create their own smart grid and learn about this impressive technology that will definitely shape how we use energy in the future.
Station #4 – Energy Management at Home
There are several tips and tricks we should all consider to reduce the amount of electricity we use. Through a game format, students explore a section of a home to find the appliances and devices that correctly answer the questions that are posed to them. Along the way they may pick up a tip or two about energy efficiency and why it is important to make sure the refrigerator door is completely closed!
Station #5 – Safety and Service
This is probably the most interesting and important station in the Hub. Here students can look out at the actual training center through a large window where overhead electricians climb poles, learn to safely use their tools, and practice rescue operations. Even when ComEd workers aren’t training it is pretty impressive to see all of the equipment in the training center. Students get to try on some of the equipment that keep overhead electricians safe. Once you hold their tool belt and gloves, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the men and women that climb the tall utility poles in all kinds of conditions. Most importantly students will walk away with rules for acting responsibly around electricity.
Station #6 – The Community of the Future
In this station, students travel through time to explore a community in the future. They’ll see how the technologies being employed today will only advance and improve our lives years from now. It is sure to inspire students who will be working with these smart technologies within their lifetimes.
Field trips are open to grades K-12 and last approximately 90 minutes long, depending on the age and size of the group. You and your students will be electrified by the new education center, so be sure to visit the Smart Energy Hub program page on the Field Trip Factory website for more information and to book your trip today!