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, games and other lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to add The Resource Force to your curriculum easily!


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 The Resource Force 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


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

This 45-minute show presents a virtual lesson in energy efficiency for grades 6-8. Through an interactive web platform, a live host will introduce entertaining sketches featuring a variety of characters in educational theatrical scenes.

The sketches focus on the following educational points:

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

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


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:

Building Batteries

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



  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 2:

Harnessing the Sun’s Energy

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



  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/


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.

Middle School Educational Assessments Livestream Hands-on lessons Digital games Interactive activities PDFs & Print materials
Draw a concept map X        
Write three things another student may misunderstand about the topic X X      
Journal reflection X X     X
Submit screenshot of completed activity     X X  
Hand in completed activity         X
Have students make collages relating to the topic X X      
Have students host their own talk show relating to the topic X        
Each student rolls a die and briefly answers aloud a question based on the number rolled:

  1. I want to remember …
  2. Something I learned today …
  3. One word to sum up what I learned …
  4. Something I already knew …
  5. I’m still confused about …
  6. An aha moement that I had today
Present students with an analogy prompt:
“The concept being covered is like ____ because ____.”
X X      


The Resource Force student activities page features games, videos, educational lessons, downloadable PDFs and more. Access in the classroom or at home to learn more about conservation and have fun exploring The Resource Force!

Access Student Activities

Student-Parent Handbook

This downloadable PDF features colorful artwork and expanded information to complete your understanding of energy efficiency. Read on your own, with your class or with friends and family and dig even deeper into The Resource Force.

Explore the Student-Parent Handbook


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

Game Story

You are working late in your laboratory with a team of scientists brainstorming how to help the world move towards renewable resources to provide energy and power. You are in the middle of a discussion about how we must slowly eliminate the use of non-renewable sources to successfully move towards renewable resources. All of a sudden, you notice a letter slipped under the door. “Hello again, my friends. I do agree that our planet needs to move towards renewable energy sources rather than rely on so many non-renewable natural resources. I have a plan! I have compiled the world’s supply of coal and I’m going to destroy it all in 40 minutes. Then we will have to find different sources. Stop me if you dare! -Dr. Strange I. Deas”


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.


You’ve covered the basics of energy efficiency. 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 energy. There are also helpful links and tips for energy efficiency 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

Electromagnetic radiation is produced as the result of fusion reactions in the sun’s core. Some of the solar radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere as heat, and some of it falls on the Earth’s surface as light and heat. Solar cells, called photovoltaic cells (PV cells), convert the visible light directly into electricity. Solar cells produce direct current, just as a battery does. They can be used anywhere a battery is used. Many solar cells make up a solar panel. When a large amount of electricity is needed, many solar panels are connected to make a solar photovoltaic array.

The potential of photovoltaic (PV) cells as a renewable electricity source is enormous. Understanding the PV effect and the history of solar cells can provide a useful perspective on research and development in energy technology. PV cells are made of a semiconductor, a material that conducts electricity (but not as well as a metal). In PV cells, it’s most commonly silicon. Pure silicon is nearly an insulator – very little electricity will flow through it. When light particles, called photons, hit the cell, its energy frees electron-hole pairs.

If an external current path – like wires attached to each side of the silicon – is provided, electrons will flow. This electron flow provides the current. The electricity produced by a PV cell is direct current, like that produced by batteries. An inverter is often used to convert the direct current into alternating current, like that obtained from a standard outlet.

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

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