Current Offerings

Current Offerings

Virtual Grid Construction

Click the image above to view an introductory video on our YouTube Channel

Students position power plants, poles, and a variety of buildings on the screen, then tap buildings to draw wires between them and light up their city. Students complete a series of challenges which take them through the historical development of the electrical grid, with simulated storms demonstrating the value of having a “smart” grid. The game includes 10 challenges and a “free play” mode.

Virtual Smart Homes

Click the image above to view an introductory video on our YouTube Channel

Using any device larger than a phone, students can complete many of the challenges and experiments they could complete on a physical home (see below).  Rather than seeing the impact of their actions on a physical home, students see the impact of their actions in animated rooms.  Students can select a reading level (K-4, 4-8, or 8-12) before beginning challenges/experiments.

Virtual Reality Solar Farm Exploration

This career-oriented virtual reality experience allows students to explore the new solar farm at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana through interactive 360-degree video.  Students can move through space and time while getting to know the people who worked together to make the solar farm a reality. This experience can be piloted on any Android or iOS phone.

Hands-On Grid Construction

Click the image above to view an introductory video on our YouTube Channel

Students work together to create their own communities, following the chronological development of the electric grid. The set contains enough models of power plants, transmission towers, substations, factories, houses, etc. to make four complete grid lines.  Students learn how electricity is generated, transmitted, and used. Each set also includes four hand-crank generators and a steam engine.  New this year is a revised student and teacher edition of the curriculum which identifies where grade-appropriate mathematics, science, and other standards are addressed and how to emphasize them.

Hands-On Smart Homes

Click the image above to view an introductory video on our YouTube Channel

Perfect as a follow-up to the grid construction experience, smart homes help students understand how smart meters and home automation systems enable consumers to control their energy use.  Students learn the energy impact of lights, heating/cooling, water use, and renewable energy sources, all while seeing the real-time results of their choices throughout the physical home. New this year are the smart shopping challenge, wind power experiment, and water heater experiment, as well as the option for multiple students to interact simultaneously with the home (using their own tablets or laptop computers). Each set includes four Smart Homes. 

Hands-On Solar Community Kits

Assembled Solar Community Kit with a pet store, apartment building, and home, each lit by LEDs through a solar panel.
The Solar Community Kit comes with a solar panel, LEDs, wire, wire nuts, wire cutters, and cardstock building templates.

Students become a city planner as they build and electrify a small town. Instructions are included for building existing models, creating new models to scale, and completing each step in delivering electricity to LEDs.

Kits can be assembled at very low cost or classroom kits are available as supplies last. For more information, visit http://smartgridforall.org/SoCKIt.

Hands-On Solar Farm Simulators

solar farm

The solar farm consists of a surface with the “sun” on the end of a long arm that pivots so that it can move across the sky, sunrise to sunset. The arm mechanism also pivots, so the position of the sun can change during the seasons throughout the year. Students place four solar arrays on the surface and gather output data, then analyze their data to determine how time-of-day and time-of-year affect solar insolation.  With this information, they can determine the best orientation and angles for each array just as engineers do in the real world.

Entertainment Emporium

Our hands-on board game lets players learn about business while exploring the impact of energy and energy sources on different attractions. Each player begins with a storefront in the local mall, but they can expand by buying and upgrading attractions. Between turns, players use capacity, entry fee, and fixed and marginal costs to calculate profit and determine a winner. While the 2-4 player game was developed with high school business classes in mind, it is rated ages 13+.

Physical copies of the board game are available by request. Please contact Olesya Courier for more information. Game resources (including the printable calculation log and custom online calculator) are available at https://ee.smartgridforall.org/.

Smart Grid Subsets and Microsets

In addition to the Smart Grid grid construction sets, we also have Smart Grid subsets and microsets. Subsets and microsets are simplified versions of thr smart grid system that are designed for use in displays and expositions. Each grid line can accommodate up to four people for up to 30 minutes. Please contact Olesya Courier for availability.

The subset contains a headquarters office, two power plants, and enough poles, transformers, and houses to make two complete grid lines. The subset also includes switches and a smart monitoring station.

Download Subset Instructions

The microset contains one power plant and enough poles, transformers, and houses for one complete grid line. Like the subset, each microset also contains switches and a smart monitoring station.

Download Microset Instructions