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CoServ's POWERrace game returns to schools

By Nicholas Sakelaris | CoServ

On a Thursday morning at Blanton Elementary School in Argyle, students were playing a board game. However, this was no ordinary board game.

It was POWERrace®.

CoServ’s trademarked board game teaches critical thinking, strategy, basic math and finance skills, teamwork and hand-eye coordination. Players get a taste of what it is like to lead an electric cooperative while also being an Electric Lineman in the field.

Created by CoServ Employees several years ago, this intricate board game has a slick magnetic playing surface, 3-D printed buildings and utility poles with wire that spins out of a spool, much like it does in real life (See linemen story on pages 18-19).

The goal is to run power lines to the various buildings and claim as many of them as you can to get more revenue and ultimately more points than the other teams. The buildings include FC Dallas’ stadium, a hospital, a gas station, city hall, a church and a movie theater. All were hand-painted by CoServ Employees.

In the spring, CoServ brought the game to several fourth- through sixth-grade classes within our service territory, including Blanton Elementary School.

Pulling the wire takes teamwork – all eight hands – pulling the wire so it doesn’t touch the ground or cause a pole to fall. All the teams at Blanton Elementary School successfully extended their utility poles without dropping anything. 

“We’ve got ourselves a line crew right here,” said Justin Porterfield, CoServ’s Energy Education Specialist who officiates the game.

Teams have conferences to decide what to do each turn. Should they power the buildings closest to their starting point (substation) or go straight for the bigger buildings in the middle of the board that are worth more points? Do they pay extra to bury the lines?

Sometimes, the lines cross over POWERrace cards, which are similar to Chance cards in monopoly with some earning you money and some costing you money.

“Every stop on that board is a learning experience of some sort, whether it’s a POWERrace card or energizing a building,” said Randy Copeland, CoServ’s Energy Education Lead who helped develop the game.

As they officiate the game, CoServ’s Energy Education Team asks questions that make the children think about the real world, such as which building would use the most electricity, how the various businesses make money to pay their electric bill and how one building’s electric load might be different than another.

“The goal is for them to learn without knowing they are learning,” Randy said.

Only one team can win but everyone learns something while gaining a new appreciation for their electric cooperative.

“I think it was really fun because it taught you new ways to think about electricity,” said Addison Underwood, a fourth grader at Blanton Elementary School.

Now that she understands the strategy, her mind is already plotting ways she can play better when Power Race returns in fifth grade.

“It’s kind of like playing Monopoly. You have to spend money to acquire buildings and that helps you get a profit,” Addison said.

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