Conservation Café and Energy Saver Trivia Night

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. These virtual offerings are included with both the Conservation Café live in-school show and the Energy Saver Trivia Night on-demand video.

Want to know the best way to use the related videos, games, activities and hands-on lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to easily add Conservation Café or Energy Saver Trivia Night to your curriculum.

Student Activities

These student activities include games, downloadable PDFs and more. Access in the classroom or at home to learn more about energy conservation!

Access Student Activities

Educational Standards

We know your class time is extremely valuable. That’s why NTC ensures that all of our materials are aligned with state and national educational standards. It’s important that Conservation Café and Energy Saver Trivia Night add to your existing curriculum and keep 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

About the Program

Live In-School Performance

Our live in-school performances feature two actor-educators who lead your students on an energy efficiency adventure.

In the this 40-minute Conservation Café live in-school show, 6th-8th grade audiences learn about energy resources with the help of a variety of characters in a series of educational sketches. The performance incorporates student volunteers as they join a new coffee shop dedicated to preserving our planet. The audience meets the quirky staff of the Conservation Café as they learn about climate change, renewable resources, the ways energy is measured and what we can do to conserve energy.

For more information about our live in-school shows, visit

Online Access Video

For schools or classrooms unable to attend a live in-school performance, the program also offers an online access video that students and educators can view anytime. The 15-minute Energy Saver Trivia Night video offers a hilarious story about energy efficiency that focuses on the same educational content as the live performance.

The online access video can be viewed in classrooms or from home, either synchronously or on individual devices. It’s an entertaining and convenient alternative to the live theatrical show.

Educator Assessments

Below are some suggestions for how you can assess your students’ ongoing learning 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 Live Performance 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

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:

Explain how the location of windows and landscaping can affect efficient heating and cooling of a home.

Purpose of Activity

Apply Skills

21st Century Skills

Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication

Cognitive Level

Strategic Thinking, Extended Thinking, Skills and Concepts

Class Time

60 minutes

  • Ruler or other straight edge
  • Blank paper

Have students make a sketch of their home. Have them label which sides face north, south, east and west. Have them make a separate sketch for each floor of the home. Count the number of windows on each side of the home. If the windows are different sizes, approximate the size of the larger windows in the drawing. Estimate how many smaller windows it would take to equal the size of the large windows. Be sure to count glass patio and other sliding doors as well. On the drawing, have students label each side of the house/apartment with the correct number of windows.

During summer months, energy can be saved by shading any windows that let in direct sunlight. Have students indicate on the drawing where there are awnings, building overhangs, trees or vines which provide shade or any other shading devices.

During winter months, strong prevailing winds can accentuate heating problems caused by poorly sealed and poorly insulated areas in the home. Heating dollars can be saved by using appropriate landscaping. This might include a windbreak consisting of bushes or evergreens. It is also advantageous to have fewer windows on the northwest side of a home. Have students add to the drawing a sketch of any natural windbreaks present around the home.

Critical Thinking Questions

Do you think the locations of windows in the home have been well-planned to take advantage of heat from sunlight?

  • Answers will vary.

Is the home in need of any additional shading? If so, where?

  • Most likely, the home could use shading on the east, south and west facing sides.

Imagine you have a friend whose family is building a new home. Write three suggestions you would give your friend to help ensure the new home has energy-efficient design features.

  • Answers could be: add windows on the south side, add windbreaks on windy sides, insulate the home, make sure energy-efficient windows are installed, insulate electrical outlets with gaskets.

Lesson 2:

Students will build a simple electromagnet to help them understand how electricity can be made.

Purpose of Activity
Review, Identify Details, Apply Skills

Cognitive Level
Skills and Concepts, Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time
One class period


  • D cell battery
  • A large steel nail
  • About 20” of insulated wire
  • A variety of objects from the classroom to test the electromagnet


  1. Strip the insulation off two ends of the wire.
  2. Hand out fruit to each group. Use a variety of fruits to compare results.
  3. Carefully wrap the wire around the nail to form tight coils. Don’t overlap the coils. Make sure that you leave at least 3” of wire free at each end.
  4. Connect the two ends of the wire to the two ends of the D cell battery and bring the tip of the nail very near some metal paper clips. The magnet will only attract if the circuit is complete.

Use a variety of objects from around the classroom. Have students make predictions as to whether or not the objects they use are magnetic before they try their electromagnet on them.

Critical Thinking Questions

How are magnets and electricity related?

  • Moving magnetic fields pull and push electrons. Metals such as copper and aluminum have electrons that are loosely held. Moving a magnet around a coil of wire, or moving a coil of wire around a magnet, pushes the electrons in the wire and creates an electrical current.

Why isn't something like wood magnetic?

  • A magnet is not attracted to materials such as wood because no internal field is induced in the wood. With no induced internal field, there is no field interaction and no attraction.

Expanded Information

Primary energy includes petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear energy and renewable energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated using these primary forms of energy. For example, coal is a primary energy source that is burned by electric power plants to generate electricity, which is a secondary source of energy.

Primary energy sources are commonly measured in different units such as barrels of oil, cubic feet of natural gas, and tons of coal. To compare fuels, a common unit of measure is used. The United States uses the British thermal unit, or Btu, to measure the energy content of each energy source.

Total U.S. energy use in 2020 was about 93 quadrillion Btu. One quadrillion equals 1,015, or one thousand trillion. One quadrillion Btu, often referred to as a quad, represents about 1% of total U.S. energy use.

In physical energy terms, one quad represents approximately 172 million barrels of oil, 51 million short tons of coal, or 1 trillion cubic feet of dry natural gas.

Do sources and uses of energy change over time?Links between industrial, commercial and residential sectors and the energy sources consumed in those sectors change over time, but the changes tend to occur slowly. For example, coal was once used extensively as a fuel for heating homes and commercial buildings, but that specific use of coal has decreased to almost nothing in the United States over the past half-century. Although renewable energy’s share of the total primary energy consumed in the United States is still relatively small, its use is growing across all sectors. Also, natural gas use in the electric power sector increased in recent years because of lower natural gas prices, while the use of coal in that sector has declined.