FrontCover.jpg KEEP Energy Education Activity Guide

This guide contains 48 hands-on, interdisciplinary lessons aligned with Wisconsin's model academic standards. Below are links to each lesson in the guide along with supporting resources. Printed copies of the guide are only available to educators who take a KEEP NRES 630 course or an Increasing Student Engagement and Literacy Skills through Energy workshop.

Guide Introduction
Cross-reference chart - Activities by Subject Area
Cross-reference chart - Activities by Grade Level
Cross-reference chart - Activities by Assessment Strategies
Cross-reference chart - Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards
Cross-reference chart - Wisconsin Standards for Environmental Literacy & Sustainability
Elementary guide supplement (K-4) - Know the Flow of Energy in Your School
Social Studies Correlations and Activities
Introductory Activity - Energy Ideas
Energy Sparks - K-5  |  6-12


Advertising Energy (Grades 5-8)
Students evaluate and categorize advertisements that promote the development of energy.
Example Advertisements
Clean Coal Air Freshener
Clean Coal
Nuclear: Clean Air Energy
Nuclear: Not Clean, Not Green
BP Better Gas Stations
BP Carbon Footprint
Careers in Energy (Grades 9-12)
Students investigate energy-related careers through research, interviews, and job shadowing.
Careers in Energy Presentation
Circuit Circus (Grades 5-8)
Students construct and experiment with simple electrical circuits using batteries, wires, and bulbs.
Check out our Energy Education Trunk!
Classroom Energy Flow (Grades K-4)
Students create an energy flow diagram of their classroom by labeling and describing how objects in their classroom transfer energy.
Community Energy Use (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students survey local residents and businesses to learn how their community uses energy.
Wisconsin Energy Statistics (includes energy use graphs)
Community Energy Use Survey (electronic form)
Dealing with Nuclear Waste (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students write a paper advocating a chosen nuclear waste dispoal option and model the half-life of radioactive materials.
Nuclear Energy Agency
World Nuclear Association: Radioactive Waste Management
World Nuclear Association: Storage and Disposal of Radioactive Waste
Digging for Coal (Grades K-4)
Students simulate the coal mining process using chocolate chip cookies.
Coal Fields of the Conterminous United States (may take a while to load)
U.S. Department of Energy Coal Energy Study Guide (Elementary)
US Energy Information Administration: Energy Kids - Coal
Diminishing Returns (Grades 5-8)
Students illustrate the concept of energy efficiency through a relay race.
SmarterHouse Home Energy Savings Guide
Don't Throw Away Energy (Grades 5-8)
Students analyze the energy used to make a product and identify alternatives (reduce, reuse, recycle) to throwing away the product and its energy.
Plastic Packaging Facts
Wisconsin Department of Natural Rsesources: Recycling Facts & Figures
Driving Reasons (Grades 9-12 / 5-8)
Students calculate a car's fuel efficiency and analyze how to reduce fuel and environmental costs when driving.
Find and Compare Cars from
Lesson Plan: Air to Drive in Project Learning Tree. Washington, D.C.: American Forest Foundation, 1993
Electric Charades (Grades K-4)
Students illustrate through a whole-body demonstration how electricity flows from the power plant to appliances in their classroom.
KEEP's home energy education page
Electric Motors and Generators (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students build model electric motors and investigate how motors and generators are used to meet many of the energy needs of modern society.
Book: Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets by James D. Livingston. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997
How Electromagnets Work
Energy Action Plan (Grades 9-12 / 5-8)
This is a comprehensive activity for Theme IV. Students develop an action plan that addresses an issue related to energy resource management. The plan can be used as the performance standard for Theme IV: Managing Energy Resource Use.
Energy Debate (Grades 5-8)
This is a comprehensive activity for Theme II. Through a debate-oriented discussion, students report on basic facts about how energy resources are developed, and highlight the advantages of each. This project also serves as a Comprehensive Theme Activity for Theme II: Developing Energy Resources.
Energy Divide (Grades 5-8)
Students play a competitive game to simulate consumption of energy resources and explore how energy conservation (reduction of use and waste) can help to sustain future energy supplies.
Energy from Food (Grades K-4)
Students are introduced to food as an energy source, and feel their heartbeat before an after exercise to learn that physical activity requires energy.
Energy Futures (Grades 9-12 / 5-8)
Students analyze trends of energy use in Wisconsin, explore consequences of these trends by using a Futures Wheel, and use scenario writing to envision a plan that addresses these effects.
Energy Investigations (Grades 9-12 / 5-8)
This is a comprehensive activity for Theme III. Students investigate and develop a report on an effect of energy resource development, use, or both. The investigation and the report can be used as the performance standard for Theme III: Effects of Energy Resource Development.
Energy Prices and the Laws of Supply and Demand (Grades 9-12)
By using the laws of supply and demand, students demonstrate how the marketplace sets energy prices and show how these prices change.
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Energy Story (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
This is a comprehensive activity for Theme I. Students develop a story that creatively and accurately incorporates fundamental and essential energy-related concepts. This story can be used as the performance standard for Theme I: We Need Energy.
General Resources in Science DL from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Literacy in Science from Minnesota STEM Teacher Center
Energy Use in an Ecosystem (Grades 5-8)
Students survey different environments and investigate how sunlight, soil moisture, temperature, and wind affect living elements-plants and animals-in an ecosystem.
Survey of Energy Use in an Ecosystem (electronic form)
Energy Use Then and Now (Grades 5-8)
Students research energy use practices of the past and compare them to present energy use practices.
Energy Kids Energy Timelines
Evidence of Energy (Grades K-4)
By investigating motion, sound, heat, and light, children learn that they and other objects in the classroom use energy.
Exploring Heat (Grades K-4)
Students conduct simple experiments to explore properties of thermal energy and heat.
Food Chain Game (Grades K-4 / 5-8)
By playing an outdoor tag game, students simulate the transfer of energy between organisms in a food chain.
Fueling Around (Grades K-4)
Students design a collage or a mobile that displays activities that depend upon the combustion of energy resources.
Fuel That Power Plant (Grades 5-8)
Students use mapping skills to locate Wisconsin's major electric power plants and their fuel supply routes, and also to investigate why modern power plants are located next to bodies of water.
Wisconsin State Profile and Energy Estimates from U.S. Energy Information Administration
National Pipeline Mapping System for maps of natural gas pipelines by county
Harnessing Nuclear Energy (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students simulate a nuclear chain reaction and read about how a nuclear reactor works.
Pressurized Water Reactor
Video: How Nuclear Energy Works
Video: Nuclear Power
People Power (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students discover the difference between work and power by climbing stairs slowly and quickly and also learn to convert from one unit of power to another.
Check out the WCEE's hands-on Hand-crank Generator and legs-on Pedal Power resources that demonstrate using human energy to produce electricity.
Potentially Kinetic (Grades K-4 / 5-8)
Through simple demonstrations, students are introduced to the presence of potential and kinetic energy in their lives and test their knowledge through a Tic-tac-toe game.
Reading Utility Bills (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students recognize and interpret electricity and natural gas use patterns for one year by reading a set of utility bills.
Bill guides for Wisconsin customers from Alliant Energy 
How to Read Your Bill from We Energies
How to Read Your Bill from Xcel Energy
Reading your Bill from Wisconsin Public Service

Sample Utility Bills
MG&E      |     We Energies     |     We Energies, Solar Cogeneration
WPPI Energy (Columbus Water & Light)     |     WPS     |     Xcel Energy 
Reading Utility Meters (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students observe and interpret daily and weekly patterns of energy consumption by reading utility meters.
Sample Digital Meter Readings
Readings A 
Readings B
Readings C
Roasted Vittles (Grades 9-12)
Students investigate how much energy is stored in foods by burning a peanut and calculating how many calories of heat are released.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 from U.S.Department of Health and Human Services
Shoebox Solar Cooker (Grades 5-8 / K-4)
Students build and use a simple solar cooker and experiment using the sun to heat food.
So You Want to Heat Your Home? (Grades 5-8 / 9-12)
Students calculate the amount of fuel needed to heat an average-sized home using different types of fuel and different heating system efficiencies.
Energy Saver-Home Heating Systems from Energy.Gov
Focus on Energy
State Heating Oil and Propane Program: Average Winter Heating Prices from Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
U.S Department of Energy Heat and Cool
Station Break (Grades 5-8)
Students conduct simple investigations to identify different ways that energy conversions take place.
e-learning for kids: Science - Pirates - What is Energy Conversion?
Sun, Wind, Water (Grades K-4)
Students use art skills to emphasize the role of energy in the water cycle.
Taking Temperatures (Grades K-4)
Students use a thermometer to investigate how shading, coloring, and other factors affect temperature.
Waterwheels, Windmills, and Turbines (Grades K-4 / 5-8)
Students construct simple turbines to investigate how the energy in wind and water can be harnessed to do work.
Where Does It Get Its Energy? (Grades K-4)
Students classify things they like to do under the source of energy it requires.