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Honda Center Becomes 'Electric Playground' for 16th Annual First Flight Field Trip

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

By Jenelyn Russo


Honda Center was transformed into an “electric playground” on Tuesday as more than 16,000 students and educators from 160 local schools attended the Anaheim Ducks 16th annual First Flight Field Trip.

The largest component of the club’s award-winning S.C.O.R.E. program (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education), the event and accompanying classroom materials aimed to help third- to sixth-graders explore the elements of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through design-based problem solving techniques.

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This year’s curriculum – entitled “Light the Lamp” – allowed students to study the properties of electricity and the science behind how the red light flashes after a goal is scored during a hockey game.

“We think it’s important to expose kids early on to concepts like circuitry and 3D design,” said Autodesk Senior Marketing Programs Manager, Amy Bergin. “Kids don’t know what they don’t know, until they are exposed to it. We want them to be curious so that they will want to try other things. Give them the tools, and it’s amazing what they can create.”
Prior to arriving at Honda Center, participating schools received workbooks and electronics kits that challenged students to “think like an engineer” and build a circuit board. With step-by-step instructions, simple materials such as wire, fasteners and LED bulbs helped students get hands-on experience at lighting their own goal lamp.

Robert Finley, a sixth-grade teacher at Turtle Rock Elementary in Irvine, used the classroom materials to supplement his science module on energy.

“In sixth grade, we work with energy, so it was a little bit of review, but then it expanded on what we had already taught,” Finley said. “It’s fun, because the kids already have some background knowledge on it, and that made it easy to transition into the material once we got the workbooks.”

Finley hosted a lunchtime session with his sixth-grade class to construct the circuit boards, and “It was fun to see them get excited about it and to hear them talking science terms,” Finley said. “It flows well with our curriculum, and as a bonus, it exposes them to hockey.”

As a way to take their exploration of the engineering design process even further, the Ducks teamed up with Autodesk, one of the leading providers of 3D design and engineering software, to provide an opportunity for teachers and students to reinforce the concepts of electricity and circuit building by participating in the “Light the Lamp” Challenge.

Through their educational site Project Ignite, Autodesk created a series of online tutorials for kids, utilizing programs such as 123D Circuits (electronics design site), Instructables (craft-based DIY site) and Tinkercad (3D CAD design tool) to help “de-mystify” circuitry and allow students to design and create their own table top hockey rink project submission.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Thompson said. “It’s good to mix some education along with hockey and have the kids come out here. They always have a good time.”
“We think it’s important to expose kids early on to concepts like circuitry and 3D design,” said Autodesk Senior Marketing Programs Manager, Amy Bergin. “Kids don’t know what they don’t know, until they are exposed to it. We want them to be curious so that they will want to try other things. Give them the tools, and it’s amazing what they can create.”

As the attendees arrived at Honda Center, the parking lot was transformed into “The Playground” segment of the event, where corporate and educational partners such as Microsoft, Autodesk, NHL and NHLPA Future Goals and Discovery Cube OC hosted interactive stations and exhibits.

Inside, the atmosphere was loud and literally electric, as Wild Wing took the ice alongside two Tesla coils and brought the curriculum to life through a high-voltage introduction to “The Classroom” portion of the field trip.

Hosts Kent French, Phil Hulett and Sande Charles guided the students and teachers through the elements of a circuit as Ducks players Andrew Cogliano, Nate Thompson, John Gibson, Frederik Andersen, Cam Fowler, Kevin Bieksa, Corey Perry and Jakob Silfverberg took turns building a large-scale circuit board.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Thompson said. “It’s good to mix some education along with hockey and have the kids come out here. They always have a good time.”

Finley’s sixth-graders began making connections to the concepts they had studied in the classroom as soon as they stepped inside Honda Center.

“The students came in and immediately started pointing out things from the workbook, like the goal lamp,” Finley said. “The Ducks put on a great program here. You can’t get any more real world than this.”

“The students came in and immediately started pointing out things from the workbook, like the goal lamp,” Finley said. “The Ducks put on a great program here. You can’t get any more real world than this.”
The field trip closed with the popular skills competition, in which the Ducks players received some assistance from students and teachers, including Finley, who joined them on the ice to compete in events such as hardest shot, longest shot and a relay race.

“Any time we get the chance to interact with people who are fans of the game, it’s very cool, not only for them, but for us too,” Fowler said. “I think that was a good addition this year to make things a little more interactive. It looks like they had a great time out there.”

Fifth-grader Ethan Chesney from Saint John the Evangelist School in San Diego was thrilled to be able to skate alongside his favorite player, Ryan Kesler, as well as spend the morning learning about electricity.

“I thought it was good, because I didn’t know much about electricity before, so I learned a lot,” said the 10-year old Chesney. “I had a lot of fun today.”

Perry acknowledged the long-term impact events like these have on science-based learning for kids as well as the growth of the sport of hockey locally.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and I think the kids enjoy getting to see us practice, seeing what we do,” Perry said. “Hockey in California has grown year by year. There have been so many kids who’ve put on skates for the first time and have never taken them off. Today has been a great time for everybody.”

For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. program, visit ducksscore.com.
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