Thirty-nine students, divided into seven teams, compile power drills, load centers, pull wire, screws, circuit breakers, and light bulbs to assemble them onto 2-by-4-foot plywood boards. They build scaled-down building electrical systems – an exciting project in CON E 353, the electrical systems for building course in Iowa State University’s construction engineering program.
Jenny Baker, a senior lecturer in the civil, construction and environmental engineering department, introduced the electrical board project to her course this past spring. “Students have a blast installing components based on theory and drawn system plans that we discuss,” Baker said.
In CON E 353, students learn about theory of building electrical systems and then apply that theory to hands-on electrical board demonstrations. “The underlying objective is to have a better understanding of different voltages and how they work, including when you need what wires to be connected to which phases,” Baker said.
Joe Hahn, a spring 2015 construction engineering graduate, helped prepare each of the eight boards that students groups used. “You can only learn so much from a book,” Hahn said. “This project helped me understand electrical systems from a field, non-lecture point-of-view.”
Electrical companies donated a total of $7,500 in materials for the boards, including 3E, Baker Electric, Commonwealth Electric, and Square D by Schneider Electric.