Website Teacher’s Guide

This teacher’s guide will help you use the e-SMARTkids site to educate your students about energy and electricity.

We’ve included an overview of the site’s structure and content, and suggestions for enhancing students’ learning through classroom discussion and further exploration.

Site Overview

The e-SMARTkids site uses games, core curriculum science content, and activities to teach students and their families electrical safety, energy science, and the principles of energy efficiency. The site is geared to a range of interests and reading levels and can be used by students in elementary, middle, and high school. Non-readers will need adult assistance to play the games.

This site features an extensive section for students, an informational section for teachers (you’re in that section now), and a brief section for parents.

Kids Section

This tab includes five components:

1. Content Sections. These sections cover a variety of standards-related core content about electrical safety, energy science, and energy efficiency.

  • Electrical Safety-SMART: Discusses principles of electricity science and strategies for indoor and outdoor electrical safety, as well as featuring testimonials from electrical accident survivors.
  • Energy-SMART: Teaches the basics of energy science, renewable energy, energy efficiency practices, and how to care for the environment.
  • Energy Science-SMART: Covers more advanced energy science concepts appropriate for middle and high school, including lots of experiments and activities, and sections on alternative energy, electric vehicles, energy careers, and ideas for research.

2. Games. Interactive games that capture kids’ interest while conveying information about electrical safety, energy efficiency, and renewable energy, giving students an opportunity to put principles learned in these areas into practice.

  • Shock Blocker: Teaches students about the dangers of water and electrical shock hazards.
  • Energy Saver Calculator: A fun way to raise awareness of the costs of using energy, in terms of both money and the environment.
  • The Voltinator: Promotes student understanding of voltage and how it propels electrons between atoms in a circuit to power electric appliances.
  • It’s Not Trivial: A fun quiz-show style game that serves as a brief review of concepts introduced in the Energy Science-SMART website section.

3. Ask an Expert. Questions and answers that convey interesting facts about energy and electrical safety. These are changed periodically in response to questions submitted by students.

4. Home Inspections. Printable checklists on electrical safety and energy efficiency practices that students can do with their families at home.

5. Activity Pages. Printable puzzle and handouts geared toward grades K-3 that reinforce electrical safety, renewable energy, and energy conservation concepts and practices.

Teachers Section

This tab includes three components:

1. Classroom Resources. Get SMART! Curriculum Materials include tips for teaching the online content, experiments, and hands-on activities in the Get SMART! sections of the website, as well as printable worksheets. The worksheets assess comprehension of the core messages introduced in the three Get SMART! sections: electrical safety, energy efficiency, and energy science.

2. Energy Glossary. Contains energy vocabulary words found on this site that may be unfamiliar to students.

3. Home Inspections. Printable checklists on electrical safety and energy efficiency practices that students can do with their families at home.

Parents Section

This tab features useful energy information for parents, including tips on safe digging, and home safety and energy efficiency inspections. It also clarifies the privacy policy of this website.

Enhancing Students’ Learning

You can reinforce what students learn on this site by reviewing the key objectives for each component and conducting classroom discussions about them. Here are some suggestions.

Kids Content

Core Content Sections

For each of the three content sections (Safety-SMART, Energy-SMART, and Energy Science-SMART) there is a student worksheet that tests students’ retention of core concepts. For hands-on learning to support these concepts, please see the Experiments and Activities component correlating to each section. All of these features are found in the Teachers section.


Some teachers find it useful to have students report back to the class what they learned after playing these games. Or you may wish to use the games as a fun reward or review of what’s been learned elsewhere on the site. Consider the following discussion ideas.

  • Shock Blocker: Kids will stop the lightning bolt from appearing three times in a row on the gameboard.
  • Energy Saver Calculator: What are the easiest energy-saving changes to make? (Student opinions will vary; this is a question to get them thinking about what changes they could make at home.) Which of the household energy-saving practices saves the most money? (Line-drying clothes.) What are the next two top energy-saving practices? (Turning down the water heater and replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs.) Why are CO2 emissions stated in the calculator? (Because they are a major contributor to global warming. The EPA estimates that an average household of two in the U.S. produces about 41,500 lbs of CO2 emissions in a year, and about 27,000 lbs of that is due to electricity and natural gas use.Energy efficiency practices can help reduce CO2 emissions and slow the rate of global warming.)
  • It’s Not Trivial: What electrical safety tips are discussed in this game? (Even low-voltage appliances can cause dangerous electric shock; stay away from pad-mounted transformers; use only battery-powered radios near a tub or pool; clean appliances only when they are unplugged, and keep them away from water.) What are some of the science concepts? (Electricity is carried by electrons; the flow of electrons from atom to atom through a conductor is an electric current; the nature of ground faults and circuits.) Name anenergy-saving tip. (Turn off your computer when not using it.) What are somelightning safety tips? (Don’t open an umbrella when there’s lightning. If you cannot get into a house or other  building during a lightning storm, stay inside a hardtop car with the windows closed.)

Ask an Expert

Ask students to brainstorm their own questions about electrical safety, energy efficiency, or energy science, and submit questions on this page. Encourage them to revisit the site, as questions in this section are updated periodically.

Safety and Energy Inspections

Review the checklists with students in class, and then assign completion of these for homework. Ask students to report back for an in-class graphing activity. On the white board, chart which practices most commonly appear under “Needs Fixing” (for Safety) or “Not Yet” (for Energy Efficiency). Have students postulate why these practices might be the ones least commonly engaged in, and then discuss what they can do about it.

K-3 Activity Pages

Print these activity pages for younger students. The Energy Tip Cards make a great homework project and help students share conservation tips with their families.

Going Further

Use the following ideas to help your students take their understanding of electrical safety, energy efficiency, and energy science to the next level.

  • Prepare a 3-minute presentation or skit for the class on potential dangers around electricity and how to remedy or prevent them.
  • Prepare a poster showing the various types of renewable energy or various ways to help conserve resources at home.
  • Create a radio commercial advocating practices and activities that one can do to help protect the environment.
  • Come up with an interesting question about energy and electricity that is not answered on this website. Research the answer, and explain it with an in-class presentation.
  • Create a quiz-show game using the Fantastic Facts questions at the end of each of the segments of the Energy Science-Smart section of this website. Find some questions of your own to add to the mix. Test your parents, older neighbors, and/or extended family to see who knows the most energy facts.
  • Show this website to your parents, and then interview them as to what they learned about how energy works, how to be safe around electricity, or how to save energy. Report back to the class.