The Classroom Energy Diet Challenge

Challenge has been completed by:

135 Classrooms!
Lesson Plan

Students will learn about the concept of carbon footprints and calculate their own.

Complete one of the following options. Each option is worth the same number of points. You will only be able to submit work and get points for one option.

Option 1: Calculate your carbon footprint and compare it with that of someone in the developing world

Students will explore the concept of a carbon footprint. Students will then calculate their carbon footprint and that of someone in a developing country and compare the two.  

Option 2: Calculate your carbon footprint and make changes to reduce it

Students will explore the concept of a carbon footprint, calculate their yearly carbon footprint and create a display informing others how to reduce or offset their carbon footprints.

OPTION 3: Suggested modification for completion at home

Students will complete a modified version of Option 2 and will evaluate their carbon footprint and consider what changes they could make in their daily routine that could reduce their environmental impact. 

Students can either discuss their carbon footprint and daily routines with parents/guardians and siblings, or they can estimate their carbon footprint using the Global Footprint Network calculator.

Students or parents/guardians can print a copy of the “Footprint” worksheet (found in the lesson plan) or can make their own drawing of a footprint. Students can then fill in their footprint with ideas or drawings on how they can lower their carbon footprint. This can be photographed and emailed to the teacher.

Teachers can submit up to six (6) photos provided by students as proof of their classroom completing the challenge.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will:

  • calculate their carbon footprint and explain its importance
  • compare and contrast standards of living in Canada and those in developing countries (option 1)
  • determine ways to decrease their carbon footprint (option 2)


CEDC blog: which calculator is right for your class

Global Footprint Network

The Carbon Monster: This is a great video to help introduce what a carbon footprint is to younger grades.

The Green Ninja

Good planet foundation

How big is your environmental footprint? Visit the World Wildlife Fund to calculate it. 

You can also try the carbon footprint calculator

Read what the Nature Conservancy has to say about carbon footprints. 

Check out how stuff works, to find out how carbon footprints really work. 

Watch a video explaining the carbon footprint. 

Watch a 3-D animation explaining how we use - and misuse - energy. 

Nasa Climate Kids

Classrooms who have completed this Challenge

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Update on the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge (CEDC) in response to extended school closures

We are excited to announce the continuation of the CEDC! We understand that the extended school closures impose a few difficulties when it comes to continued participation in this program, and invite classrooms to channel their creativity and ingenuity to complete any outstanding challenges. Where possible, we will be maintaining the current structure, deadlines and prizing, and will be adapting the existing challenges to be more easily completed by members of the classroom who are self-isolating. If you are able to work safely and remotely to complete challenges with your students, please continue to submit your proof!

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and stay tuned for another update in the coming days.