TEACHER TOOLKIT

Eversource and NTC invite you to use these e-learning resources to teach your students about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation. The digital materials below are designed to get your students excited about understanding these important subjects.

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 easily add Energy Academy: The Power Squad 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 Energy Academy: The Power Squad 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  

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.

Energy Academy: The Power Squad teaches viewers about the following educational points:

  • What energy and electricity are
  • What energy resources are
  • How energy is used unwisely
  • How we can use energy efficiently

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.

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:

Harnessing the Sun’s Energy

Objective
Students will investigate a solar panel’s ability to produce volts and amps by collecting data on series vs. parallel circuits and angles of light collection.

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
50 minutes

Materials

Procedure

  1. Show pictures of solar panels. Find ones that the students may be familiar with in your area. This link has more pictures.
  2. Ask the students to write down three observations and then ask three questions. Have them ask most of their questions without providing answers.
  3. The students then answer the questions on the student sheet.
  4. Demonstrate the use of the voltmeter. Use 20 mv for most solar panels.
  5. Students should experiment with three different ways to increase the electric output from the solar panels. One test should establish the best angle for the solar panel, and the other two should test various combinations of the panels.

Critical Thinking Questions

What are some constraints to using solar energy?

  • Cost of solar panels, amount of electricity the panels can produce, number of days of adequate sunlight.

Why is solar energy attractive?

  • 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.

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

Lesson 2:

Lesson 1: Electricity Every Day  

Introduction

Electricity is a form of energy. Electricity powers many of the things people use every day. Despite its importance in our daily lives, few people stop to think what life would be like without electricity. But we use electricity to do many jobs for us every day – from lighting, heating, and cooling our homes to powering our televisions and computers. This activity helps illustrate the effect electricity has on our daily lives.

Killowatt Kitchen
Objective

Students will understand the effect electricity has on their daily lives.

Purpose of Activity

Review, Identify Details, Communicate, Create

21st Century Skills

Communication, Creativity

Cognitive Level

Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time

30 minutes

Materials

Chalkboard or whiteboard

Procedure

  • Ask the students to identify things in the classroom that use electricity. Write these answers on the board. Have them continue to identify things at home that also use electricity.
  • The students will write (or draw a picture) about the things they do every day that use electricity. (Examples: My alarm clock woke me up, I turned on the lamps, I dried my hair with a hair dryer, made toast, etc.)
  • Present the stories to the class.

How important is electricity to your daily life? To the daily life of the school or of the city?

  • Without electricity we would not be able to use computers or lights at school. Businesses could not run and everyday life would be impossible.

What would be different if there was no electricity?

  • None of our appliances would work. Businesses and schools could not operate.

Are there ways you could use less electricity today?

  • Turn off lights and appliances. Replace old lightbulbs with energy-efficient ones. Use smart appliances and programmable thermostats.

Lesson 3:

Building Batteries

Objective
Students will investigate the construction of batteries based on how different materials react with one another to produce electricity.

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

Procedure

  1. Demonstrate building a battery using the materials listed. Students may perform this in groups if you have enough equipment. A battery can work in a single beaker with copper and zinc and salt water typically producing the greatest voltage.
  2. Ask students to write questions that they have about the phenomenon.
  3. Tell students that they will research battery types, evaluate them and communicate their findings.
  4. To help them summarize what they have learned in the experiment, they could access these websites: https://www.explainthatstuff.com/batteries.html or https://engineering.mit.edu/engage/ask-an-engineer/how-does-a-battery-work/
  5. Students could communicate their learning in a variety of ways: a poster, a slide for a class PowerPoint or a short written report.

Critical Thinking Questions

What are some uses for batteries?

  • Toys, scooters, e-bikes, cars, etc.

Why are scientists searching for new ways to store energy in batteries?

  • Batteries are portable, batteries are inexpensive to produce and recycle, they can be used in many devices.

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

Lesson 4:

Lesson 2: Use Wind to Power a Turbine

Turbine
Introduction

In the video, we learned that a turbine is a giant rotating fan. In this activity, wind is used in place of steam to spin the turbine.

Objective

Students will work together to engineer a wind turbine to demonstrate how wind power works.

Purpose of Activity

Apply Skills, Create

21st Century Skills

Collaboration

Cognitive Level

Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time

30-45 minutes

Materials

Four small paper drinking cups
A pair of scissors
Two strips of stiff, corrugated cardboard, about 18” x 3” each
Stapler
One pushpin
Sharpened pencil with an eraser on the end
Modeling clay

Procedure

Divide the class into teams. Teams of 3 or 4 work best.

  • Make the paper cups lighter by cutting the rolled edges off the tops.
  • Find and mark the exact center of the cardboard strips.
  • Cross the cardboard strips to make a plus sign. Staple them together.
  • Staple the cups to the ends of the cardboard strips making sure the cups all face the same direction.
  • Push the pin through the center of the cardboard and attach the cardboard cross with the cups on it to the eraser point of the pencil. Blow on the cups to make sure the cardboard spins around freely on the pin.
  • Place the modeling clay on an outdoor surface. Stick the sharpened end of the pencil into the clay so it stands up straight.
  • Observe the motion of the cups.

What happens when you move the turbine to a more sheltered or more open area?

  • If it is in a sheltered area, it will move slower. If it is an open area, it will move faster.

What else could power a turbine?

  • A fast-moving river or steam from boiling water.

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.

STUDENT ACTIVITIES  

Energy Academy: The Power Squad 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 energy efficiency and have fun exploring Energy Academy: The Power Squad!

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 TEnergy Academy: The Power Squad.

Explore the Student Playbook

E-book

Flip through 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

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 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

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:

Expanded Info: Watt’s Up with Electrical Terms?

Introduction

Read this passage to your students and ask them the discussion questions that follow.

Read to your class

The three most basic units in electricity are voltage, current and resistance. Voltage is measured in volts, current is measured in amps and resistance is measured in ohms.

A neat analogy to help understand these terms is a system of plumbing pipes. The voltage is equivalent to the water pressure, the current is equivalent to the amount of water, and the resistance is like the pipe size.

How do they relate?

Current is equal to the voltage divided by the resistance.

Let’s see how this relationship applies to the plumbing system. Let’s say you have a tank of pressurized water connected to a hose that you are using to water the garden.

What happens if you increase the pressure in the tank? You probably can guess that this makes more water come out of the hose. The same is true of an electrical system: Increasing the voltage will make more current flow.

Let’s say you increase the diameter of the hose and all of the fittings to the tank. You probably guessed that this also makes more water come out of the hose. This is like decreasing the resistance in an electrical system, which increases the current flow.

Electrical power is measured in watts. In an electrical system, power (P) is equal to the voltage multiplied by the current.

The water analogy still applies. Take a hose and point it at a waterwheel like the ones that were used to turn grinding stones in watermills. You can increase the power generated by the waterwheel in two ways. If you increase the pressure of the water coming out of the hose, it hits the waterwheel with a lot more force and the wheel turns faster, generating more power. If you increase the flow rate, the waterwheel turns faster because of the weight of the extra water hitting it.

Source: HowStuffWorks.com

Using the plumbing analogy, what happens when you lower the pressure (or current)?

  • The water doesn’t flow as fast.

Why would some locations need more electricity than others?

  • Larger buildings typically use more electricity than smaller ones. Therefore, a school uses more energy than a home.

Write C=v/r on the board. Ask students what the Current (C) would be if the Volts (v) = 20, and the Ohms (r) = 4.

  • Answer = 5 Amps

What would the Volts (v) be if the Current (C) = 50 and the Ohms (r) = 5?

  • Answer = 250 Volts

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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