SEMCA Goes on a Fieldtrip

A Peek Inside a SEMCA Electrical II Classroom

On February 7 & 8, SEMCA Electrical Two students spent class time at Somerset Mall, in Troy, MI. While Somerset is known for its beautiful, high-end shops, SEMCA students weren’t there to shop—they were there to study lighting.

“I chose Somerset because of the vast variety of lighting,” said James Brooks, SEMCA Electrical Instructor. “The students start identifying lighting in the parking lot,” he added, “and then use the map I give them to find me on level one.”

Students must check in with Brooks at 6:30 p.m. and check out when the event ends to earn credit for the day’s class. The intervening hours are spent on a scavenger hunt: what types of lighting are used and where? Students receive a handout with pictures on it and travel in groups of two or three to locate each type of lighting and list where they found them in the mall.

“This is a great activity because it helps students once they’re back in the classroom and we start talking about the various kinds of fixtures, colors, and functions of lights,” said Brooks. “I can see that ‘aha’ lightbulb moment when they connect their mall adventure to their textbook learning. They have a point of reference.”

Richard Gignac, a student in Brooks’ class agreed. “You can look at something in a book but when you see it in the world, it’s different,” he said. All the students said that the time was well spent. They liked getting out of the classroom and seeing how their textbook ideas are used in the real world, especially if they don’t see it all on the jobsite. Students especially enjoyed the bonus that Brooks added to the end of class: a random drawing for a gift card for all completers.