"Save a watt! Save a lot!”
That was the chant one morning at Millbrook Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C., during “Energy Endgame,” a 25-minute hi-tech adventure with an enlightening mission: teach children about energy resources and conservation.
During the performance, the 200 students were challenged to help figure out why the power is out and why a video game developer, Hieronymus Tru, cannot get her cool new video game on the market. Accompanied by laughter, everyone learns about topics such as renewable resources, how we measure energy, how energy is wasted and how to conserve energy.
The performance by National Theatre for Children is sponsored by Duke Energy as part of the company’s in-school education program. That program includes the My Energy Kit Challenge, which has a goal to save 10 million kilowatt-hours of energy during the 2019-20 school year. To reach this goal, staff and families at participating schools can request free My Energy Kits (which includes items such as LED bulbs, an energy-efficient showerhead, faucet aerators and Switch and Outlet Insulators) to save energy in their homes.
And as part of the Challenge, Duke Energy also developed Killowatt Krush last year, a video game app that teaches about energy – what it is, how to conserve it, safety and products that use it.
Millbrook fourth-grader Judianny Zeron thought the play was fun and enjoyed solving the energy mystery. “I really liked learning about ways to save energy,” she said with a big smile.
Teachers also appreciate the program and view it as an important addition to their curriculum. The school’s mission is to “develop environmentally-minded citizens who will change the world.” Millbrook science teacher Tracy Brumble said, “It’s our job to help children make the connection to our environment, and programs like this are an engaging way to do just that.”
Duke Energy is on track to reach over 1,100 schools and almost 400,000 students with programs in 2019 in its service area. It is an investment of about $3.5 million.
“Duke Energy supports arts and theater in schools while providing an important message about energy efficiency for students,” says Program Manager Amy Sadler. “Enhancing the message with a live theatrical production captivates the students’ attention and reinforces the classroom curriculum materials provided.”
The spirit and goals of the program are meaningful to the actors as well. “I’m so happy,” said Denae DeShazer, a Kansas City native on her second tour with the National Theatre for Children, “to be playing a small part in saving the world.”