TEACHER TOOLKIT

PPL Electric Utilities and NTC invite you to use these e-learning resources to teach your students about the importance of electrical safety. The digital materials below are designed to get your students excited about understanding this important subject.

Want to know the best way to use the related videos, games, e-books, smart speaker activity and other lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to add Captain Wattage to your curriculum!


EDUCATOR INSTRUCTIONS


Educational Standards  

We know your class time is extremely valuable. That’s why we ensure that all of our digital e-learning materials are aligned with state and national educational standards. It’s important that the Captain Wattage digital program adds to your existing curriculum and keeps students on track with their ongoing learning.

See below for details about how each digital activity aligns with educational standards and corresponds with your state’s curricula.

Educational Standards

PROGRAM OVERVIEW  

This 35-minute show presents a virtual lesson in energy efficiency for grades K-5. Through an interactive web platform, a live host will introduce entertaining sketches featuring a variety of characters in professionally filmed scenes from educational theatrical productions.

The sketches focus on the following educational points:

  • How electricity is made
  • The uses of electricity
  • Identifying dangerous electrical situations
  • How to be safe around electricity

Whether watching in the classroom or at home, your students will experience important lessons about electricity and electrical safety.

HANDS-ON LESSONS  

Your students can enhance what they learn from the program with these fun, hands-on lessons and experiments. These lessons can be done in the classroom or easily adapted for students to do at home with their families.

They’re a fun and educational way for students to learn with family members. The materials needed for these lessons are basic supplies that most people have at home. Follow up with your students to make sure they enjoyed and learned from these activities.

Lesson 1:

Who Turned Out the Lights?

Objective
Students will use the engineering process to build a solar oven out of a pizza box.

Purpose of Activity
Read or Listen, Identify Details, Apply Skills

21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking, Collaboration

Cognitive Level
Strategic Thinking, Extended Thinking, Skills and Concepts

Class Time
1 hour

Materials

  • One pizza box from a local pizza delivery store
  • Newspapers
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Black construction paper
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Aluminum foil
  • One piece of notebook paper
  • One pencil or pen
  • One ruler, wooden dowel or stick
  • Edible treat, such as a cookie or s’more

Procedure

  1. Make sure the pizza box is folded into its box shape and closed.
  2. Place the piece of notebook paper in the center of the lid of the box and trace its outline on the lid. Put the piece of paper aside.
  3. Carefully cut the two long edges and one of the short edges of the rectangle that you just traced on the lid of the box forming a flap of cardboard.
  4. Gently fold the flap back along the uncut edge to form a crease.
  5. Wrap the underside (inside) face of this flap with aluminum foil. Tape it on the other side so that the foil is held firmly. Try to keep the tape from showing on the foil side of the flap. The foil will help to reflect the sunlight into the box.
  6. Open the box and place a piece of black construction paper in so it fits the bottom of the box. This will help to absorb the sun's heat.
  7. Roll up some newspaper and fit it around the inside edges of the box. This is the insulation that helps hold in the sun's heat. It should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Use tape to hold the newspaper in place, but only tape it to the bottom of the box, not the lid.
  8. Open the box again and cut two pieces of plastic wrap an inch larger than the flap opening on the box top. Open the box again and on the inside of the box lid, tape one piece of plastic wrap so that it covers the hole in the lid. After taping one side, BE SURE TO PULL THE PLASTIC WRAP TIGHT, and tape down all four sides so the plastic is sealed against the cardboard. Then close the box and tape the other piece of plastic wrap to the top of the flap opening. Again, be sure the plastic wrap is tight and tape down all four edges to form a seal. This creates a layer of air as insulation that helps keep the sun's heat in the box.
  9. On a sunny day, pick a treat to warm up and carry it and the box outside to a sunny spot. If it's cold outside, put a towel or blanket under the box so the bottom doesn't get cold. Open the box, put the treat in the center and close the box. Now open the flap and turn the box so the foil is facing the sun. The shadow of the flap should go straight back from the back of the box. Move the flap up and down and note how it reflects the sunlight. Use a dowel, ruler or stick to prop up the flap so that it bounces the sunlight into the box.
  10. Wait about thirty minutes for the box to warm up in the sun. Then enjoy your warmed-up treat!

Critical Thinking Questions

How can we use solar power to generate electricity?

  • Two ways. One – solar panels can turn sunlight directly into electricity. Two – solar reflectors, like this oven, can be used to heat up molten salt. The molten salt can then be used to boil water to create steam which can spin a turbine and generate electricity.

What role did the insulation play in this oven?

  • The insulation prevented a heat transfer from the oven and helped keep it warm.

Adapted from: https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2015/03/f20/PizzaBoxSolarOven.pdf

Lesson 2:

Matter, Heat and Insulation

Objective
Students will use the engineering process to develop an insulated container to minimize the loss of heat energy.

Purpose of Activity
Read or Listen, Identify Details, Apply Skills

21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking, Collaboration

Cognitive Level
Strategic Thinking, Extended Thinking, Skills and Concepts

Class Time
2 hours

Materials

  • Hot water
  • Plastic cup
  • Thermometer
  • Bubble-wrap, wool, cotton and other items to be used for insulation
  • Timers
  • Thermos
  • Laptops or digital device for research
  • Student sheet

Procedure

  1. Show the thermos. Explain that heat energy can be gained or lost due to the cooling or heating effects of the environment. Ask students why they think this thermos can keep something hot on a cold day and have them write ideas down.
  2. Students will conduct an investigation with hot water. The students will try to keep the hot water as warm as possible for the designated time. For the investigation, students will use the cup. They will use other insulating materials to help the container be as effective as possible.
  3. Students then make modifications to the container for a second test.
  4. Students will use the student sheet to record observed temperatures under the evidence portion and will also give reasoning. They will then formulate a claim on how these experiments work and also an explanation.

Critical Thinking Questions

Which insulation worked best to insulate the water?

  • The wool.

What role did heat transfer play in the design of the insulation?

  • Heat transfer was being prevented.

Adapted from: https://energy.utah.gov/energy-education/curriculum/

EDUCATOR ASSESSMENTS  

Follow-up, formative assessments for you to gauge the learning of your students are especially important with e-learning. Below are some suggestions for how you can assess your students’ performance quickly and effectively.

These assessments are easy for you and your students to complete and help ensure your class is getting the maximum educational value, retention and engagement from the related digital activities.


Elementary Educational Assessments
Livestream
Hands-on lessons
Digital games
E-book
Graphic novel
Interactive activities
PDFs & Print materials
Ask students to reflect on the topic and draw their thoughts on paper
X
   
X
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Write one or two sentences identifying the main point
X
X
 
X
X
   
Think-pair-share
X
   
X
X
   
One-question quiz    
X
   
X
 
Journal reflection
X
   
X
X
   
Have students discuss three things they learned, two things they still want to learn, and one question they still have
X
   
X
X
   
Hand in completed activity  
X
       
X
Submit screenshot of completed activity    
X
   
X
 

STUDENT ACTIVITIES  

The Captain Wattage student activities page features games, videos, educational lessons, downloadable PDFs, a smart speaker app and more. Access in the classroom or at home to learn more about electrical safety and have fun exploring Captain Wattage!

Access Student Activities

Student Playbook

This downloadable PDF features colorful artwork, entertaining games and activities, and expanded information to complete your understanding of electrical safety. Read on your own, with your class or with friends and family and get to know the characters of Captain Wattage.

Explore the Student Playbook

E-book

Dive into this colorful, illustrated e-book in the classroom or at home with friends and family. Students can read to themselves or with others, and younger students can use the read-along option.

Access the E-book

Graphic Novel

Flip through this colorful graphic novel for a new and engaging story. With fun artwork, entertaining characters and expanded information, the Agents of Safety graphic novel offers a page-turning experience.

Access the Graphic Novel

EVALUATION

We take your feedback and suggestions very seriously. Hearing from educators with firsthand experience with our programs ensures that we continue to improve our digital resources, making them as beneficial as possible for you and your students.

Please complete this brief, two-minute evaluation to let us know what you thought. Enter the code you received on the Teacher Instruction Card or call us for your access code.

Thank you for your time and valuable input.

EXPANDED INFORMATION & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES  

You’ve covered the basics of electrical safety. If you really want to dig deep with your class, check out the expanded information and additional resources below.

These materials provide even more insight into the history, science, usage and importance of electricity. There are also helpful links and tips for staying safe around electricity in your community.

Expanded Information 1:

Expanded Info: How We Generate Electricity

Introduction

Read the passage to your students, have them play the Build a Power Plant game, and ask them the critical thinking questions that follow.

Read to your class

We use electricity every day to power our TVs, computers, video games, lamps and about a million other things. But where does electricity come from, and how does it get into those funny looking holes in the wall?

Let’s go backwards. The outlets in your wall are connected to a series of wires that lead to utility poles outside of your house or apartment building. These wires then lead to transformers or substations, which, in turn, lead to a power plant. It’s in the power plant that the electricity is created.

In the 1800s, scientists discovered that when a magnet is dragged across a series of copper wires, it creates a field of electricity. The problem is, in order to keep your lightbulb lit, there has to be a constant current of electricity flowing through it, which means the magnet has to be continually moving. To solve this problem, the magnets in the power plant are surrounded by wires on all sides. So if the magnets spin in a circle, they create a nonstop current.

But how do we keep that magnet spinning? One way is to attach it to a turbine. A turbine is like a giant fan. Imagine a child’s pinwheel. If the magnet were attached to that pinwheel, then it would spin any time the child blew on it. In the power plant, the pinwheel-like turbine isn’t spun by a child with amazing lung capacity, but instead with steam. By focusing steam through smaller and smaller pipes, it becomes so powerful it can spin the turbine with great ease.

All that steam comes from boiling large amounts of water. The more water we boil, the more steam we produce, which takes us to resources. All of that water has to boil somehow, and we make that happen by burning resources like coal, oil and natural gas. The more electricity we make, the more resources it takes to make it. And because there’s only so much coal, oil and natural gas in the world, it’s more important than ever that we conserve, or save, electricity wherever possible.

Build a Power Plant

Use the objects below to build a power plant. Click on the play button to start.

turbine generator

What is another way we can spin the turbine?

  • We can put a turbine in a river. This is how hydroelectric dams work.
  • We can also use the wind to spin a turbine in a windmill.

What happens when we run out of resources like coal or natural gas?

  • They’re gone. We will have to use renewable resources like wind, solar or hydro.

Expanded Information 2:

Laws of energy

To scientists, conservation of energy does not mean saving energy. Instead, the law of conservation of energy says that energy is neither created nor destroyed. When people use energy, it doesn't disappear. Energy changes from one form of energy into another form of energy.

A car engine burns gasoline, converting the chemical energy in gasoline into mechanical energy. Solar photovoltaic cells change radiant energy from the sun into electrical energy. Energy changes form, but the total amount of energy in the universe stays the same.

Energy efficiency is the amount of useful energy obtained from a system. A perfectly energy-efficient machine would convert all of the energy put into the machine to useful work. In reality, converting one form of energy into another form of energy always involves a conversion into usable and unusable forms of energy.

Most energy transformations are not efficient. The human body is a good example. The human body is like a machine, and the fuel it requires is food. Food gives a person energy to move, breathe and think. However, the human body isn't very efficient at converting food into useful work. The human body is less than 5% efficient most of the time. The rest of the energy is converted to heat, which may or may not be useful, depending on how cool or warm a person wants to be.

Source: https://www.eia.gov/kids/what-is-energy/laws-of-energy.php

Expanded Information 3:

Expanded Info: Electrical Safety Tips

Read these electrical safety tips to your class.


  • When unplugging something, pull the plug, not the power cord.
  • Keep anything that is flammable away from space heaters.
  • Make sure space heaters are at least three feet away from curtains.
  • An adult should turn off space heaters when not in use.
  • Never touch lights, plugs, or anything electrical when you have wet hands.
  • Don’t climb trees near power lines.
  • Keep ladders and tools at least 10 feet away from power lines. Only adults should climb a ladder that's anywhere near power lines, and the ladder should be dry and made of wood or fiberglass.
  • Never touch overhead power lines.

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