Foose Elementary 4th Graders Think BIG

Phoenix Contact kicks off yearlong STEM curriculum for Harrisburg S.D.

Middletown, Pa. Fourth-grade students from Foose Elementary School in Harrisburg, Pa., built industrial control assemblies and played a virtual-reality game this week, as Phoenix Contact employees introduced them to the endless possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Approximately 100 students visited Phoenix Contact’s U.S. headquarters in Middletown, Pa., on Monday, October 29, to kick off the second annual “Think BIG!” program. The partnership with Harrisburg School District is a yearlong curriculum designed to get elementary-age students excited about STEM careers.

Monday’s kickoff event introduced the students to Phoenix Contact and its engineering and manufacturing expertise. In addition to the hands-on activities, students took a window tour of the U.S. plant and previewed the science classes they will take during the school year.

From November through May, Phoenix Contact volunteers will visit the school once a month to teach hands-on lessons related to solar and wind energy. Last year’s program relied on volunteers solely from the Development and Manufacturing Company, but this year’s expanded program will include volunteers from all areas of the company.

“This ‘Think BIG’ idea was one of the brainstorming outcomes of how Phoenix Contact Development and Manufacturing employees could support our community at large,” said David Skelton, Vice President of Phoenix Contact Development and Manufacturing, Inc. “The STEM education program for elementary students came out on top, and we began two years ago with Foose Elementary and the Harrisburg School District. What makes it unique from other STEM activities we’ve been involved in is it was developed as a part of the school curriculum and meets state standards as such. The curriculum uses engineering methods to solve problems in the context of wind and solar energy. The first year at Foose Elementary was a great success. Students had fun with the approach, and scores in science improved dramatically. It is exciting to see us begin our second year and welcome a new Foose Elementary School class to our company for the 2018/19 school year. 

“The next step of the ‘Big Idea’ is to expand the program beyond Foose Elementary to more schools in Harrisburg and surrounding school districts. To do this, we need more technology-oriented companies to join us. Participation of course benefits the students, but also our employees who choose to share the love of their profession with youth, and our overall company by further developing our collaboration skills across a larger, more diverse group of employees.”

Central Pennsylvania companies interested in implementing Think BIG during the 2019/20 school year can e-mail to learn more about the program.

About Phoenix Contact

Phoenix Contact develops and manufactures industrial electrical and electronic technology products that power, protect, connect, and automate systems and equipment for a wide range of industries. Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, Blomberg, Germany, operates 50 international subsidiaries, including Phoenix Contact USA in Middletown, Pa.

For more information about Phoenix Contact or its products, visit, call technical service at 800-322-3225, or e-mail

P.O. Box 4100

Harrisburg, PA 17111-0100

Phone: (717) 944-1300, ext. 3721

Fax: (717) 944-1625


Molly McGowan

Public Relations Specialist

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