Energy Agents

How to Use This Program

Duke Energy and The National Theatre for Children (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, smart speaker activity and other lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to easily add Energy Agents to your curriculum.

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Educational Standards

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

Click here for details about how each activity aligns with educational standards and corresponds with your state’s curricula.

Educational Standards
Program Video

Our livestream offers events offer classrooms a convenient, online-accessible option for experiencing educational theatre.

This 35-minute show presents a virtual lesson in energy efficiency for grades 6-8. Through an interactive web platform, a live host will introduce a series of entertaining sketches featuring a variety of characters from educational theatrical productions.

The comedic sketches focus on the following educational points:

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

Watch in the classroom or at home. You’ll experience important lessons on energy efficiency along with calls to action and additional activities you can do at home and in the community.

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 from the related activities.

Middle School Educational Assessments Livestream Hands-on lessons Digital games Interactive activities 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” moment that I had today
Present students with an analogy prompt: “The concept being covered is like ____ because ____.” x x      

Interactive Activities

Words to Know

Hover over the image to reveal the definition.

A small attachment on a faucet to save water in kitchens and bathrooms
To save or use wisely
Producing very little waste
A useful source of energy used in many ways
The ability to do work and the force that makes things change
A lightbulb that uses less energy than an incandescent bulb
A showerhead that saves water and energy
A card that shows the temperature of your water to help you save energy
One thousand watts of electricity
Things we use to make electricity, like coal and natural gas
Using 1,000 watts of electricity for one hour
To use thoughtlessly or carelessly
A unit of electricity

Lesson 1: Too Hot to Handle

Incandescent lightbulbs are the most commonly used lightbulbs. However, LED bulbs use 1/4 the energy and last as much as 10 times longer. Incandescent lightbulbs are not energy efficient because only 10% of the electricity is used for light and the other 90% escapes as heat. LED bulbs do not use a metal filament to create light, but instead use semiconductors that require less electricity to create the same amount of light.


Students will understand the concept of how energy shows itself as heat, light, sound or motion.

Purpose of Activity

Review, Identify Details, Communicate, Create

21st Century Skills

Critical Thinking

Cognitive Level

Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time

25 minutes

  • One 60-watt incandescent bulb
  • One 60-watt equivalent LED bulb
  • Thermometer
  • Lamp

Divide the class into teams. Teams of three or four work best.

  1. Have an adult place the LED bulb in the lamp and turn it on. Observe the light that is produced.
  2. Hold a thermometer six inches above the bulb for one minute and record the temperature. Turn off the lamp and let the bulb cool.
  3. Have an adult remove the LED bulb. Place the incandescent bulb in the lamp and turn it on. Observe the light that is produced.
  4. Hold a thermometer six inches above the bulb for one minute and record the temperature.

Critical Thinking Questions

Is there a noticeable difference in how much light the two bulbs produced?

  • The light should be about the same.

Did one bulb produce more heat than the other?

  • The incandescent bulb should produce more heat.

Which bulb is more energy efficient?

  • The LED is more energy efficient since it takes less energy to produce the same amount of light.

Lesson 2: Fruit Battery

Students will experiment with fruit to create electricity.

Purpose of Activity
Apply Skills, Create

21st Century Skills

Cognitive Level
Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time
30 minutes


  • A variety of citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
  • Copper nail, screw or wire (about 2" or 5 cm long)
  • Zinc nail or screw or galvanized nail (about 2" or 5 cm long)
  • Holiday light with 2" or 5 cm leads (enough wire to connect it to the nails)
  • Electrical tape or alligator clip


  1. Divide students into groups. If student is doing the experiment at home, make sure to have an adult present.
  2. Hand out fruit to each group. Use a variety of fruits to compare results.
  3. Gently roll the fruit to soften it, being careful not to break the skin.
  4. Insert the zinc and copper nails into the fruit approximately 2” or 5 cm apart. Don’t allow the nails to touch each other. Do not push the nails all the way through the fruit.
  5. Remove about 1” of the plastic coating from the leads of the light. This can be done ahead of time.
  6. Wrap one lead around the zinc nail and one around the copper nail. Use the electrical tape or alligator clips to keep the wire from falling off the nails.
  7. When the second nail is connected, the light will turn on.

Critical Thinking Questions

What’s happening?

  • Citrus fruits are acidic, which allows their juice to conduct electricity.

Does this experiment work with other fruits?

  • Fruits with a higher acidic level will also work. Have students record their observations.

Is the citrus battery powerful enough to make other objects work?

  • It should work using objects that only require one AA battery. Take out the battery and then touch each wire to one of the nodes in the battery slot of the object.

Expanded Information: Watt’s Up with Electrical Terms?

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.


Critical Thinking Questions

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