Project Description

Applications for 2021-2022 Program Open Soon!

What Is the Energizing Student Potential Program?

The Exelon Foundation, ComEd, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, and BP America, in partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, provide Energizing Student Potential, a STEM-focused energy program for grades 5 – 8 in their respective customer regions in Illinois and Indiana. This program brings together Illinois and Indiana standards-based curriculum for use in the classroom or in afterschool programs in public and private schools and the resources of the region’s largest energy companies. The program will help schools meet Next Generation Science Standards goals and more.

Energizing Student Potential is designed to help educators bring energy into the classroom and to provide all the tools and resources necessary for students and teachers to learn together, explore energy together, and teach their local communities about energy. The program begins with an energizing two-day workshop in the fall and culminates with a Celebration of Energy at which participating schools share the community education programs and the STEM projects they have completed throughout the year.

Teachers and students engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities in the classroom while learning fundamental principles of energy use and conservation. Students learn best when engaged in inquiry learning — and the activities and explorations included in the program allow them to think, explore, share, and develop a profound respect for energy and the world around them.

We know that teaching others helps us learn as well and the Kids Teaching Kids philosophy woven throughout The NEED Project curriculum helps keep students of all learning styles engaged and excited to learn. The lessons and projects in this program are designed to allow students to teach their peers as well as their local community.

We hope you will join us for this exciting opportunity! See if your school is eligible! View the eligible counties list here.

Adaptations and Offerings for School Year 2020-2021

  • Virtual Training in late October. Supplies for hands-on activities sent ahead to participating teachers and including sessions on teaching/using ESP virtually in your classroom.
  • Mini-grants of up to $400 available via application to support additional ESP supplies or resources for the classroom.
  • A Virtual ESP Energy Fair lesson plan and Zoom support for students to create the Fair, invite community members and request assistance to host on one of NEED’s Zoom platforms. ESP provides judges to review the projects at teacher request.
  • Resources list for direct to student control – YouTube and Instagram Live sessions that connect to an ESP content area – electricity, solar, wind, efficiency, nuclear, as well as links to energy videos, virtual tours and more!
  • Student Energy Team Trainings for small groups of students (clubs) with a NEED Certified Energy Manager and staff on managing energy use in the home (and in the school when able to return to school). Topics can include general energy, energy efficiency and conservation, engineering, and more.
  • ESP Student Saturdays for ESP students. Teachers may share information and families may sign students up to participate. The family registers the student, students receive hands-on supplies and join the program for 60 minutes each Saturday for 3 weeks.
  • Selection of Virtual Student Programs for teachers to select to “visit” the classroom and share a variety of lessons with students.
  • Opportunities to request Exelon volunteers to chat with students during classroom periods to learn more about energy careers.
  • Optional small ESP kits that schools could request for students (up to a certain amount with budget limits).
  • Exelon-wide Energy Innovation Challenge for students to “opt in” for participation within a class or individually. ESP will host 4 training and enrichment sessions for students with a final project submission and showcase (virtually).

Have questions about the program? Email

2021- 2022 Program Resources

Multimedia Release

Illinois Solar Schools

Morton Arboretum Virtual Resources

Energy Fair Planning Tips (PPT) – NOTE: 2021-2022 may be virtually adapted

What is an Energy Audit? (PPT) – NOTE: 2021-2022 may be virtually adapted

Virtual Energy Fair Poster (coming soon)

Teacher Evaluation – (available spring 2022)

Student Evaluation – (available spring 2022)

Final Project Guidelines (coming soon)

Project Submission (coming soon)

ESP IL/IN SmugMug Photo Gallery

Curriculum Resources

NEED Curriculum Guides – Science of Energy, Solar, Wind, Oil and Natural Gas, Nuclear, Energy Management, and MORE!

Illinois Electric Connections

Energy Information Administration, Illinois Data

Additional Resources and Links from Partners & Sponsors

Evaluation and Assessment

NGSS Correlation and Support

Science of Electricity

Energy Expo

Interactive Energy Simulations

Excellent Energy Engineering

Digital Presentations For The Classroom

Science of Energy
Oil and Gas
Efficiency and Conservation