Duke Energy Science Nights for Elementary Schools

Option to purchase kits

Demand for the Duke Energy Science Night program has skyrocketed to the point where we can only award sponsored kits to less than half of the schools that apply for them.

We, therefore, create a limited number of spots in our kit program for purchase. The preorder process opens in early August of each school year. We require payment in October to procure the kit materials and begin the fulfillment and program year. The kits ship in February to enable schools to hold their science event during April as part of the NC Science Festival. A more detailed timeline can be found below.

The 2023-2024 kit program price is $595 plus sales tax. To maintain a low price point despite an increase in materials costs, we cannot offer a quantity discount this year.

This wildly popular NCSciFest program is now in its 13th year!

Funding from the Duke Energy Foundation allows NC Science Festival staff to produce this program for elementary schools across the entire state. The Duke Energy Science Night program is designed to help schools host a fun science event for their students and families with the use of a resource kit that includes hands-on activities, a planning guide, activity instructions (in English and Spanish), materials for up to 200 participants, and the support of NCSciFest staff.

We are thrilled that the 2023-2024 Duke Energy Foundation funding increase enabled 200 schools to receive sponsored kits! These were awarded using an application process and review of the school's statement, needs, demographics, geography, and past participation. The sponsorship application opens in early August and closes in September each school year. The kits ship in February. Schools hold their science event during April, bringing families together as a community to explore the amazing world of science as part of the NC Science Festival. A more detailed timeline can be found below.

What's included in the Duke Energy Science Night Activity Kit program?

  • Hands-on activities (9-11) aligned with K-5 Science Standards 
  • Activity guides (detailed instructions, explanations of the science, and North Carolina connections)
  • Activity supplies (materials for 200 students to perform each of the activities)
  • Planning guide (helpful instructions on how to organize a science event)
  • Unlimited access to downloadable digital resources (including Spanish versions of documents)
  • Promotional materials (including a banner, flyer templates, and giveaways to build excitement)
  • Instructional webinars to support your preparation throughout the school year
  • Email and phone support throughout the school year
  • Cost of materials procurement, packing, and shipping

A child and adult making straw flutes


How can I participate in the Duke Energy Science Night program now that the 2023-2024 application and preorder periods are closed?

Our online resources are available for anyone to use at no cost. You will need to gather or purchase the materials required for the activities. A complete list of these materials can be found in the resource list. If you decide to hold a science night event using the DESN activities during April 2024, you will also be considered an official NC Science Festival event!


What is the 2023-2024 Duke Energy Science Nights Timeline?A child watches a parachute fall

  • Aug 7 - Sep 22, 2023: Application period for sponsored kits.
  • Aug 7 - Oct 19, 2023: Preorder and prepayment period for purchased kits. (Note: preorders will close once the kit limit is reached.)
  • Sep 28, 2023: Schools that applied for sponsored kits notified of their status.
  • Oct 5, 2023: Deadline for selected schools to confirm acceptance of a sponsored kit.
  • Oct 19, 2023: Deadline to guarantee preordered kit(s) with payment.
  • Nov 2023: Program Welcome and Overview webinar.
  • Dec 2023: Instructional webinar.
  • January 2024: Instructional webinar.
  • February 2024: Activity Kits ship. Activity overview webinar and videos.
  • April 2024: Schools use their Activity Kits as part of the NCSciFest.
  • May 2024: Submit evaluation and feedback.

What can I do if I have questions?

Please contact the NCSciFest team by email* (ncscifestschools@unc.edu) or by telephone (919-962-3274).

*Please add these email addresses to your contacts to ensure our messages are not caught in your spam filter.