TEACHER TOOLKIT

WPPI Energy’s participating members 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, smart speaker activity and other lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to easily add Showdown at Conservation Canyon to your curriculum!


EDUCATOR VIDEO


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 Showdown at Conservation Canyon 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  

Debuting this year, our livestream offers teachers a convenient, online-accessible option for experiencing educational theatre.

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 energy and electricity are made
  • How energy is wasted
  • How we conserve energy
  • The uses of energy

Whether watching in the classroom or at home, your students will experience important lessons about energy efficiency.

HANDS-ON LESSONS  

Your students can enhance the learning from the livestream 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 family.

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

Lesson 1:

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 probably 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 everything they do all day that uses electricity. (Example: 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 2:

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.

  1. Make the paper cups lighter by cutting the rolled edges off the tops.
  2. Find and mark the exact center of the cardboard strips.
  3. Cross the cardboard strips to make a plus sign. Staple them together.
  4. Staple the cups to the ends of the cardboard strips making sure the cups all face the same direction.
  5. 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.
  6. Place the modeling clay on an outdoor surface. Stick the sharpened end of the pencil into the clay so it stands up straight.
  7. 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.

Lesson 3:

Do Electrical Appliances Save Time?

Turbine

Students will recognize how people use energy to do work that was once done by hand.

Purpose of Activity

Apply Skills, Identify Details

Cognitive Level

Skills and Concepts

Class Time

45 minutes

Materials

1 electric mixer
2 bowls
2 pudding packages
4 cups milk
Paper cups (1 per student)
Plastic spoons (1 per student)
1 wooden spoon
Stopwatch or classroom clock

Procedure

  1. Explain to students that it takes energy to do things. Electricity is a convenient form of energy.
  2. Put the following on the board:  THEN    NOW
  3. Ask students to add examples of the ways we do things now, and how it was done in the past.
  4. Write the following on the board:   RED    GREEN
    • What might happen?
    • What we did:
    • What we saw:
    • What we think: (conclusion)
  5. Divide the class into Red and Green teams. The students will be making chocolate pudding two different ways: THEN using a spoon; and NOW using an electric mixer.
  6. Ask: “Which method will take longer?” Fill in their prediction on the board.
  7. Hand out an electric mixer to an adult helper on the Red side. Hand out a wooden spoon to the Green side.
  8. Have each group mix the pudding powder and milk together. Ask students to time how long it takes to mix the pudding and to observe how easy or difficult it is to mix. After the pudding and milk are combined, put it aside to set.
  9. Have students write down what they did and saw.
  10. Serve up the pudding into paper cups. Have students write a conclusion that explains what they observed.

Do the two puddings taste different?

  • No. Mixing in different ways does not affect taste. It only affects how long it takes to complete the task.

What could you do with the time saved by using the mixer?

  • Answers will vary.

Was one method more fun than the other?

  • Answers will vary.

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  

Showdown at Conservation Canyon student activities page features games, videos, e-books, educational lessons, a smart speaker app and more. Access in the classroom or at home to learn more about energy efficiency and have fun exploring Showdown at Conservation Canyon!

Access Student Activities

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 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.

Thank you for your time and valuable input.

EXPANDED INFORMATION & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES  

You’ve covered the basics of energy efficiency. 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 energy efficiency in your community.

Expanded Information 1:

Expanded Info: How We Generate Electricity

Introduction

Read the passage below to your students and ask them the discussion 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

WPPI Energy’s participating members want you to have fun and remember: Open your eyes, be energy wise!