5th Grade

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Turning on the lights

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What is the history of electricity?

Rural Electrification

Wide-spread electrification was one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s relief projects announced January 4, 1935, to help the nation recover from the Great Depression. The following April, Congress apportioned $100 million for the project, and the next month, Executive Order 7037 created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA).

At the request of South Carolina Governor Olin D. Johnston, who had met with President Roosevelt, the South Carolina General Assembly in 1935 created the short-lived State Rural Electrification Authority. The agency’s mission was to extend lines from existing power companies to rural areas. The authority was shut down six years later, amid criticisms of overcharging consumers and limiting service. South Carolinians knew they could get lights only by securing them on their own. They took the relief project into their own hands. The electric cooperative revolution was born.

Electric cooperatives in S.C. were formed to get electricity to rural areas. The network of member-owned electric cooperatives includes 20 independent distribution cooperatives that supply power to homes and businesses, two wholesales power supply cooperatives that aggregate the power supplied to the distribution cooperatives and provide transmission services, and one materials supply cooperative for power system construction needs. Together, they operate the largest electric distribution system in the state with more than 70,000 miles of power lines. More than 1.5 million South Carolinians in all 46 counties use electricity from electric cooperatives.

A teacher demonstrates how a light bulb works in a rural classroom.


Who invented and/or improved the light bulb?
What are electric cooperatives and what is the history of them in S.C.?
Your Electric Cooperatives


South Carolina fifth grade students study the industrial revolution and how it contributed to the United States becoming a world power. We believe that understanding the history of electricity, including the inventors, the advancements and the birth of electric cooperatives, helps students become energy literate and helps South Carolina become more energy efficient.

State Standards and Indicators


Standard 5.P.1:
The student will use the science and engineering practices, including the processes and skills of scientific inquiry, to develop understandings of science content.

5.P.1A. Conceptual Understanding: The practices of science and engineering support the development of science concepts, develop the habits of mind that are necessary for scientific thinking, and allow students to engage in science in ways that are similar to those used by scientists and engineers.

5.P.1B. Conceptual Understanding:
Technology is any modification to the natural world created to fulfill the wants and needs of humans. The engineering design process involves a series of iterative steps used to solve a problem and often leads to the development of a new or improved technology.


Standard 5.E.3:
The student will demonstrate an understanding of how natural processes and
human activities affect the features of Earth’s landforms and oceans.

5.E.3B. Conceptual Understanding:
Earth’s oceans and landforms can be affected by natural processes in various ways. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards caused by these processes but can take steps to reduce their impacts. Human activities can affect the land and oceans in positive and negative ways.

Performance Indicators: Students who demonstrate this understanding can:

Construct scientific arguments to support claims that human activities (such as
conservation efforts or pollution) affect the land and oceans of Earth.

Define problems caused by natural processes or human activities and test possible solutions to reduce the impact on landforms and the ocean shore zone.


The student will demonstrate an understanding of major domestic and foreign developments that contributed to the United States becoming a world power.

Explain how the Industrial Revolution was furthered by new inventions and technologies, including new methods of mass production and transportation and the invention of the light bulb, the telegraph, and the telephone.

Identify prominent inventors and scientists of the period and summarize their inventions or discoveries, including Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, and Albert Einstein.