Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Students Wire Their Brains ; Mark Pemberton's Electrical Exhibits Light Up His Classroom

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Students Wire Their Brains ; Mark Pemberton's Electrical Exhibits Light Up His Classroom

Article excerpt

In Mark Pemberton's classroom, seventh-grader Landon Ritchie fiddled with the electrical interactive learning board, a matching test laid in two columns of electricity vocabulary. Nodes on the board sat next to each word. He attached wire nodes to the board nodes so the red bulb would light up. "There's only four [options], and it's this one, this one, this one or this one," Ritchie said. When none of them lighted the bulb, he checked the board's back to examine the wires. Seventh-grader DeAngelo Wade came by and showed him how to rub the wire nodes together to fire up a current. Wade connected the wire nodes to two nuts and the bulb flashed. Students show initiative in Mr. Pemberton's class.

Pemberton teaches technology, construction, energy and electricity to 700 sixth-, seventh-and eighth-graders attending Plaza Park International Prep Academy. He previously worked as a coal miner, a mechanic and a heat and air conditioner technician, where he learned about these subjects hands-on. To teach the way he learned, Pemberton built the Electrical Learning Center to allow his students to interact with circuits and switches. Now it helps them see how the properties of electricity work.

"I've always wanted to make a learning board, and just give the kids a taste of how electricity works, teach them practical things around the house," Pemberton said.

Last week five seventh-graders at a time stepped up to Mr. Mark Pemberton's Electrical Learning Center, a plasterboard with two-by- four foot wood beams framing the board like a wall's skeleton. On each beam was a different electrical appliance: triple A and double A batteries, parallel and series circuits, a light switch, a flashlight, and components from a refrigerator, car and washer. A small yellow Post-it was taped next to each appliance explaining what it was and what it does. The pupils read these, took notes and tapped buttons to work the circuits.

"Tell me, I forget. Show me, I'll remember." Pemberton explained the board's point.

Several seventh-graders agreed with his method.

"I like how he puts up all the examples, different types of batteries, stuff you get from a car and washer and heater," seventh grader Eric Siegel said. …

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