NGRID Fall e-newsletter
Winter 2010-2011

Your Sustainable Energy

Prevent Heat Escape This Winter by Teaching Students
to Be Draft Detectives

Did you know?

  • Reducing air leaks could cut 10 percent from an average household's monthly energy bill.
  • For every degree you lower your thermostat, you save about 2 percent off your heating bill.
  • You can cut annual heating bills by as much as 10 percent a year by turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 percent for eight hours.

It’s that time of year again—when temperatures fall and thermostats rise. The average American home uses more energy on heating than anything else. In fact, it makes up 31 percent of the energy used in a home. In colder months, a significant portion of a home’s heat and energy bill can go right out the window. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use. If you don’t take steps to resolve drafts, it’s like throwing money and energy out the window.

Draft Detectives
Teach your students to be draft detectives by searching out areas where heat escapes their home. Hands are a perfect tool for identifying drafts. Ask students to use their hands to feel for breezes. Or, to detect even more subtle breezes, students can tape a tissue to a ruler (like a flag) and hold it in front of conspicuous areas.

  • Windows: Do you feel air coming in through edges of the window and window frame? If so, hang heavy curtains or a blanket over the windows. You can also place towels in window sills to keep the cold air from coming in.
  • Doors: Use your hand or tissue to inspect all edges of the door. Hang a blanket or sheet over problematic doors and if there are large gaps under the door, place a towel underneath in addition to hanging the blanket.
  • Wall Plugs: Run your hand, or hold a tissue, in front of all wall plugs in your home. If you find drafts, ask your parents to buy draft stoppers for the plugs and ask if you can help install them.
  • Attics: Heat rises and can easily escape through the attic. Ask your parents to check for cool air coming in through attic stairs. Insulation should be added to prevent additional heat loss through the ceiling.

Learn more energy-saving tips by visiting Energy efficiency world and find out about safety, the environment, and ethics by visiting our home page at


Electrical & Natural Gas Safety

Ethics Explorer—Amy Steiger, 4th Grade Teacher, Crisafulli School, Westford, MA


Energy Efficiency

Tips to Help You Weather a Winter Storm Emergency

Many valuable resources are available for teachers, students, and parents on the National Grid Ethics site. As a fourth grade teacher, I would use this site in my classroom for multiple purposes. The primary overview of the word “Ethics” on the page titled Understanding Ethics could be used at the beginning of the school year, when boundaries and classroom expectations are being established.

The Codes of Conduct page would be a great place to begin the school year. Classroom contracts could be created after this page was explored. As the year progresses, through community-building activities such as Responsive Classroom’s Morning Meeting and similar activities, each of the subsections of the site, such as Respect and Tolerance and Compassion and Community could be discussed. I would use this site as a whole-class lesson. While using a projector to display the page, focused class discussions would help to build community within any classroom. All teachers use community-building activities to some degree, and this site provides concrete, age-appropriate vocabulary definitions for more challenging topics.

The National Grid Ethics site is age-appropriate for grades four through seven or eight. Being a former middle school teacher, I believe it may benefit a health teacher or guidance counselor at this level. Students in seventh or eighth grade could access this site from home and respond to the discussion questions in a journal reflection, essay assignment, or the printable “Going Further” activities. Parents and families could also be involved in these home assignments. However, fourth or fifth graders would benefit from small group or whole class discourse with a teacher. An elementary guidance counselor would also find this website valuable and could use the different discussion activities in more focused small groups.

The graphics and design of the website are appealing. The set-up of the site is easy to navigate. Teachers will also benefit from the “Discussion Guides” available on the Teacher’s site. These provide a strong foundation for teachers to direct student comments and questions. Present in this site, but not often found in other social skills programs, is the discussion of “popular choices.” This site has a strong theme throughout for students to think about: “What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.” This theme is unique to this website; it explores the idea of peer pressure without actually using those often overused words.

Visit Ethics Explorer for lessons and activities on ethics and visit our homepage at


Get Prepared with an Emergency Supply Kit
Did you know that even small amounts of ice build-up and snow on power lines can cause wires to snap and utility poles to tumble? Falling trees and tree limbs covered in ice can also bring down power lines, cause outages, and threaten property or even life. That’s why it’s so important to prepare for a winter storm emergency long before the first snow.

Help your students prepare by putting together a basic emergency supply kit. The kit should include the following basic items:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person, per day, for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with charger

Once their kit includes all of these basic items, ask them to consider what else they might need. Some examples include:

  • Prescription medicine or glasses
  • Food and extra water for pets
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Matches in a water-proof container

Do you know what to do in a power outage? What about a lightning strike? Visit Electric and Natural Gas Safety World to get everything you need to teach students how to react to these life-threatening emergencies and visit our homepage at



Let the Sun in to Save Energy and Stay Warm

Harness the Most Powerful Energy Source
Winter is here and with it comes colder temperatures and shorter days. And that means we’re all using more energy to heat and power our homes. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to reduce the amount of heat used in our homes is by using the heat from the sun — the best source of energy we have. The winter sun is lower on the horizon, so sunlight penetrates deeper into the house than it does when it’s directly overhead in the summer. And that means that even though the winter sun’s rays are less intense, they can still create heat because they cover more surface area in your home.

Though it’s 93 million miles away from earth, the sun emits some pretty potent energy. It’s smart to take advantage of that free heat whenever possible. Open up shades and drapes on south-facing windows during the day to allow the sunlight to warm the air, floors, and furniture. This is called passive solar heating. On a sunny day in a well-insulated house, it can reduce the number of times your heating system is activated and can add up to real savings. Always remember to close the blinds after the sun sets, and use thick shades or drapes to cover windows so that the heat stays inside.

For more information on solar power and other renewable forms of energy, visit Your Sustainable Energy World or go to our homepage for information on energy safety, efficiency, and ethics.


A Word from Our Teachers

Very often I’ll use the products that National Grid has sent me, especially the energy unit, the one I rely most heavily on. The website supplements my teaching beautifully. Once they’ve read the text, then I can bring up the site and have them go through the eBook either as a whole group or break them into centers on in-class computers. For the activities and web pages, the same thing: I can use them in stations as they rotate through; some could be reading an e-Book; some could be doing the Activity Pages; I could see myself using this a lot in the future. I would use all the games with a SMART Board: I’ll bring up a game like Energy scrambler, and have them come up with the Smart Pen and write on the lines. Sometimes I make it competitive, for fun.
4th Grade Teacher, Kingsford Park Elementary, Oswego, NY


Explore our world of energy education...

#8767 © 2011 Culver Media, LLC