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Plugging In: Scholars Enjoy Club that Pairs Electricity with Creativity

When approached about leading an after-school club by Summit Creek’s Cougar Parent Champions group, Middle School Math Teacher Jeff Souther was interested in the options available. He wasn’t ready for the surprises coming his way.
Twenty Circuit Club participants, made up of students in grades four through seven, work with special kits to learn about electricity and the many ways to complete electrical circuits. The kits enable students to pair a switch with the circuitry needed to power a small LED light, fan, or alarm. Souther said the club has really sparked students’ creativity.
“They get really excited to show me what they come up with,” Souther said. “They usually shoot a fan or something in my face or blast an alarm in my ear, something like that, but it's a lot of fun.”
The biggest learning moments have come with how switches work, and all the things they can turn on and off.
“I don't think they realize everything is electronic these days but it's kind of like this black box. We don't see the components. We don't know how it works. It's mysterious. I see those eureka moments a lot when I show them that it's a very basic concept of just a complete circle. When you break the circle, something turns off, and when you complete the circle, something turns on.”

Summit Creek Circuit Club student shows off the completed project he created.
Souther explains to the students that the concept applies to most electrical things they interact with: laptop computers, lights, fans, game systems, etc.
“I try to keep it as fun and engaging as possible to kind of help with the learning. I try not to lecture too much or anything like that. Some of them need more hands-on guidance than others. So instead of keeping the whole club going on the same pace, I kind of cut them loose to work on their different projects and then I circulate and help the different groups as needed.”
The club has been meeting every other Friday since the beginning of February. Souther said he tries to keep the mood light and interactive.
“They really seem to have a good time. Something I wanted to do with this club was not to just make it more school. I wanted it to be fun and engaging while also educational.”
Great work supporting Summit Creek students, Cougar Parent Champions and Mr. Souther!

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About Summit Creek Academy
Summit Creek Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school located in Browns Summit, North Carolina, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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