Benson’s electric major allows students to start learning simple circuitry and end up knowing how to wire a house. Students do many hands-on projects combined with book work to both learn and apply their knowledge.
Electric majors contribute to the Benson House by providing wiring for the house. Both juniors and seniors take field trips to visit the house to participate in assisting in wiring.
In freshman year, Benson students have the opportunity to rotate through this quarter-long basic electronics and electricity class. Students learn about basic circuits and how electricity flows through them before etching their very own circuit boards. These are then used for several hands-on projects as students build continuity testers, steady hand games, and flashing LED projects to apply their knowledge. Currently taught by Mr. Railey, this class is around 60% lab work and 40% book work.
Students who choose to participate in another quarter-long rotation of Electric their sophomore year are exposed to more complex circuits. After learning about integrated circuits, students build their own 12 Volt DC Power Supply and use it to power circuits they build on breadboards. Later in the quarter, students are introduced to residential circuity and wire basic lights and power outlets, learning about testing and measuring equipment as they work.
If students choose to major in Electric for their junior and senior years, they explore residential and commercial wiring much further. There is a focus on safety when working with electrical and mechanical systems, and students learn the National Electric Codes and Regulations. House wiring is worked on, and students apply their knowledge of the phases of residential wiring to working on the Benson House. Juniors are eligible to participate in the Portland Metro Youth Apprenticeship.
The senior electric class revolves around industrial automation. Students move away from residential wiring and work with programmable logic controllers, variable frequency drives, motor control, and automation. To do this, they combine electrical control with robotics and pneumatics. They create many tech show projects using their programming and timing knowledge. Seniors are eligible to participate in the Portland Metro Youth Apprenticeship.