GRDA and the Electric Express

Since it first hit the tracks in the fall of 2008, the Grand River Dam Authority’s “Electric Express” has rolled into several classrooms across Northeast Oklahoma.

Electric Express is the name of the GRDA program designed to teach elementary students about the basics of electricity, including how it is made, how it is transmitted and, most importantly, how to be safe when you are around it.

GRDA personnel worked closely with educators to develop the Electric Express journal, which is a program booklet that introduces students to the basics of electricity — cells, electric current, simple circuits, etc. — in a fun way.

“We also relied on the expertise of our engineering and electric transmission employees who helped us develop some of the basic exercises and lesson ideas for the journal,” said GRDA Corporate Communications Specialist Shannon Cook. “Using the concept of a train track as circuit, the students are able to see how electricity moves, how it can be switched on and off and how it needs to complete a circuit.”

Helping to guide the student is the Plugsby, a brightly colored mascot that can be seen throughout the journal. Plugsby offers “Guess Watt” and “Know Watt” features that give students the electric facts in an easy to understand format.

As part of the Electric Express program, GRDA also works with the schools to bring special demonstrations and displays in for the students. A bicycle hooked to an electric generator helps the students see just how much “pedal power” it takes to power a light bulb. Meanwhile, GRDA’s mobile electric safety display is a very vivid demonstration of the reason we should all stay away from live power lines.

Since 2008, GRDA has taken the program into several schools in the area, often working with the local utility crew as co-presenters. Also, GRDA has set up the displays at various times for school groups visiting the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center.

For more information on the program, contact GRDA Corporate Communications at (918) 256 5545 or by emailing .

– Justin Alberty
GRDA Corporate Communications Director

This article is part of the GRDA Power For Progress series.