Central Hudson and NTC invite you to use these e-learning resources to teach your students about energy efficiency. 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, e-books, games and other lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to add Kilowatt Kitchen to your curriculum!


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 Kilowatt Kitchen 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


Our live in-school theatrical programs are a great way to educate students about a wide variety of important topics. Theater has the ability to capture imaginations and educate at the same time! This 25-minute show features two engaging actors performing a fun story that keeps kids laughing and learning.

Kilowatt Kitchen teaches viewers about the following educational points:

  • How we measure energy use
  • How energy is wasted
  • How we conserve energy
  • What renewable resources are

During the show, your students will learn important lessons about energy efficiency. You can use the lessons and activities on this page to prolong the engagement for months to come.


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?

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


  • 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


  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:

Who Turned Out the Lights?

Students will witness a simple phenomenon where the classroom lights are out and all electronic devices/equipment are off. They will ask questions about how this would affect their lives and how it is affecting them right now. Students will build a simple circuit with a battery and light.

Purpose of Activity
Read or Listen, Apply Skills

21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking

Cognitive Level
Strategic Thinking, Extended Thinking, Skills and Concepts

Class Time
50 minutes


  • Classroom with electric lights
  • Circuit building kit here
  • Double AA batteries (1 per student group)
  • Student sheet


  1. Turn all of the lights off in the classroom along with all other electronic devices (except for computer carts). Students will come into a dark room. Tell them that we cannot have the lights on today because we are pretending there is no electricity in the room.
  2. Ask students for questions that they have about why the room is dark and what it might mean. Students record them on their student sheet. (Hand them the student sheet upon entering the classroom.)
  3. Students will plan and build a simple light circuit using the circuit building kit and will investigate how energy is being transferred from a battery to a wire and can be used to create light.

Critical Thinking Questions

What must happen to make the circuit work to turn on the lightbulb?

  • The wires must be attached to the top and bottom of the battery. The wires must be attached to the lightbulb.

What are ways we can save energy?

  • Turn off lights when we are not using them. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs, etc.

Lesson 3:

The Solar Power Challenge

Students will identify photovoltaic solar power as a source of energy. Students will explain what happens when a photovoltaic cell is shaded. Students will understand why we can’t rely solely on this resource for energy.

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

21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking

Cognitive Level
Critical Thinking, Collaboration

Class Time
4 class periods of 45 – 60 mins

  • Day 1: Introduction and Research
  • Day 2: Building the Prototype
  • Day 3: Testing Prototype and Redesign
  • Day 4: Testing of Redesign and Interpretation

Materials listed are enough for one group of 3-4 students.

Divide the students into groups of three or four. Allow students to design their houses based on the templates. Make sure you have stiff paper that will be able to hold the weight of the solar panel. The students will also need a square of poster board to place their house on as a base.

Day one: Introduction and Research
Have students discuss their knowledge of solar panels – where they have seen them and how they work. After the discussion, let the students come up with some questions they may need to know before they create a house that will hold a solar panel. Have them write down their questions. As a class, look at the questions the groups came up with.

Research: On the student worksheet, there are links that the students can click on and watch to learn how solar panels work and how they create energy. Students will need to take notes. Have the students work quietly on their own notes and designs.

Bring the students together in their groups. Ask them if there is something they would add or change to their model. As a group, determine which house design will provide the best solar solution. Where should the solar panels go?

Have the groups use their research to create a model that will meet the criteria and constraints. Make sure they realize that they only have a limited time to build their prototype. The students will also need to have a look at what supplies are available for use. Groups must make a list of supplies. They will also need to have a detailed model with notes of the height of the house, the angle of the roof, where they are putting the solar panel and their prediction on how many watts of energy they will get.

Note: Some students may want to place their solar panel on the ground. If so, make sure they indicate at what angle the panel will be set.

Day two: Building your Prototype
Students build their prototypes.

Day three: Testing, Analyzing and Redesign
Teacher prep: Set up an area outside where the students can test their prototypes. Make sure that each group has access to the voltmeters. The students will need ten minutes to test their prototypes at least three times throughout the day. Suggested times would be first thing in the morning, around lunchtime and at the end of the day. The students will need time to redesign their prototypes and retest them.

Video on how to read a voltmeter: The Best Multimeter Tutorial (4:35 minutes)

Student groups can test their prototype, writing down the amount of energy they have created using solar energy. They will record the volts on the voltmeter. They will also need to record any observations they may see (example: angle is off, roof is too steep, roof is too weak, etc.).

Once the group has tested their prototype, the students need to answer the analysis questions. Students will then get an opportunity to redesign and update their prototype. Explain that this is not a time to start over from the beginning. This is the time to look at the problems and use different ideas to come up with a solution. Allow time for the students to make the changes to their prototype and test again. Record their data and observations on data table.

Day four: Testing Redesign and Analyzing Data
Allow students to test their redesigns and analyze the data.

Critical Thinking Questions

What are some constraints to homeowners that wish to use solar energy?

  • Cost of solar panels, amount of electricity the panels can produce, number of days of adequate sunlight, the size of the homeowner’s roof.

Why is solar energy attractive to homeowners?

  • The energy source is free, solar energy produces little or no emissions, current energy sources do produce emissions, solar energy costs less than other sources.


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


Kilowatt Kitchen student activities page features games, videos, e-books, educational lessons, downloadable PDFs, a smart speaker app and more. Access in the classroom or at home to learn more about conservation and have fun exploring Kilowatt Kitchen!

Access Student Activities

Student Playbook

This downloadable PDF features colorful artwork, entertaining games and activities, and expanded information to complete your understanding of energy efficiency. Read on your own, with your class or with friends and family and get to know the characters of Kilowatt Kitchen.

Explore the Student Playbook


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 Electrana graphic novel offers a page-turning experience.

Access the Graphic Novel


A digital breakout game based around human reliance on energy and resources. Unlock all the locks to win the game.

Game Story

You enter the in the offices of The Energized Guyz, a league of superheroes who track down and eliminate energy waste. One of these heroes, Electrana (AKA Ella Hollinsworth), has gone missing, leaving behind nothing but a few digital clues. So, with Electrana missing, The Energized Guyz’ arch nemesis, Professor Ohm, can get busy wasting energy all over the community. You must use your wits to solve the clues to find Electrana and stop Professor Ohm’s shenanigans, before all the energy in our town is wasted!


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.


You’ve covered the basics of energy and conservation. If you really want to dig deep with your class, explore the expanded information and additional resources below.

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

Expanded Information 1:

Expanded Info: How We Generate Electricity


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:

Solar Power

The surface of the Sun has a temperature of about 5,800 Kelvin (about 5,500 degrees Celsius, or about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit). At that temperature, most of the energy the Sun radiates is visible and near-infrared light. At Earth’s average distance from the Sun (about 150 million kilometers), the average intensity of solar energy reaching the top of the atmosphere directly facing the Sun is about 1,360 watts per square meter, according to measurements made by the most recent NASA satellite missions. This amount of power is known as the total solar irradiance.

A watt is a measurement of power, or the amount of energy that something generates or uses over time. How much power is 1,360 watts? An incandescent lightbulb uses anywhere from 40 to 100 watts. A microwave uses about 1,000 watts. If, for just one hour, you could capture and re-use all the solar energy arriving over a single square meter at the top of the atmosphere directly facing the Sun, you would have enough to run a refrigerator all day.

The total solar irradiance is the maximum possible power that the Sun can deliver to a planet at Earth’s average distance from the Sun; basic geometry limits the actual solar energy intercepted by Earth. Only half the Earth is ever lit by the Sun at one time, which halves the total solar irradiance.

In addition, the total solar irradiance is the maximum power the Sun can deliver to a surface that is perpendicular to the path of incoming light. Because the Earth is a sphere, only areas near the equator at midday come close to being perpendicular to the path of incoming light. Everywhere else, the light comes in at an angle. The progressive decrease in the angle of solar illumination with increasing latitude reduces the average solar irradiance by an additional one-half.

Averaged over the entire planet, the amount of sunlight arriving at the top of Earth’s atmosphere is only one-fourth of the total solar irradiance, or approximately 340 watts per square meter.

Source: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/EnergyBalance/page2.php

Expanded Information 3:

About Distributed Energy Sources

Distributed generation refers to a variety of technologies that generate electricity at or near where it will be used, such as solar panels and combined heat and power. Distributed generation may serve a single structure, such as a home or business, or it may be part of a microgrid (a smaller grid that is also tied into the larger electricity delivery system), such as at a major industrial facility, a military base or a large college campus. When connected to the electric utility’s lower voltage distribution lines, distributed generation can help support delivery of clean, reliable power to additional customers and reduce electricity losses along transmission and distribution lines.

In the residential sector, common distributed generation systems include:

  • Solar photovoltaic panels
  • Small wind turbines
  • Natural-gas-fired fuel cells
  • Emergency backup generators, usually fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel

In the commercial and industrial sectors, distributed generation can include resources such as:

  • Combined heat and power systems
  • Solar photovoltaic panels
  • Wind
  • Hydropower
  • Biomass combustion or cofiring
  • Municipal solid waste incineration
  • Fuel cells fired by natural gas or biomass
  • Reciprocating combustion engines, including backup generators, which may be fueled by oil

Source: https://www.epa.gov/energy/distributed-generation-electricity-and-its-environmental-impacts

Central Hudson wants you to have fun and remember: Save a watt, save a lot!

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