A successful 10th year!

Article by Can Geo Education

The COVID-19 global pandemic didn’t stop 555 classrooms from stretching their creative muscles and bringing energy awareness to new levels across their schools and communities. It is because of these hardworking classrooms that the 10th year of the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge ended on a successful note.

Here is a look back on some highlights. 

Energy Saving by the numbers

  • 118,468 Litres of water conserved
  • 3,273 Hours of no power
  • 25,944 Items kept from landfill

Most Popular Challenges

Explorer Classroom students write down ideas on how they can decrease their carbon footprint to share with the rest of the school.

1. How big are your carbon feet?

This year, 111 classrooms completed this challenge, which provides students with an opportunity to learn about the impact their everyday actions have on the Earth. To complete this challenge, students had to calculate their carbon footprint and then discuss how they can decrease it.

Brennan’s Grade 6/7 class completed this challenge at home with students’ families. Students drew pictures to highlight the importance of the message in this challenge.

2. One hour no power

This challenge has been around since the inception of the program and has been a favourite for classrooms year after year. This year, 110 classrooms completed the challenge and went 3,273 hours without power. Students brainstormed activities they could do that do not require the use of any electronic devices to see how long they can go without using power. 

Grade 2 classroom Futuresavers brainstormed needs and wants and challenged their families to give up a “want” together.

3. Do you really need it?

This challenge is a favourite because it involves students taking action. This year, 105 classrooms completed this challenge. For this challenge, students discussed the difference between a need and a want and then selected one item to give up for 24 hours

Congratulations to our Energy Educator of the Year Award recipients: 

Elementary – Lia Ciarallo, Kingsdale Academy, Pierrefonds, Que.

Lia Ciarallo has been named our 2021 Energy Educator of the Year Award for her outstanding commitment to energy conservation. In addition to participating in the CEDC, Ciarallo and her class have adopted a number of classroom and school-wide eco-initiatives. Their Waste-Free Lunch program encourages students to reduce their use of single-use plastics and their Power Hour initiative has their entire school turn off their class lights for an hour each day. Ciarallo has also recently started a renewable and sustainable energy project with her Grade 3 students, which was inspired by the A Green-Powered Canada challenge.

Secondary – Rhiannon Weismiller, Toronto Central Academy, Toronto, Ont.

Rhiannon Weismiller has been named our 2021 Energy Educator of the Year Award for her enthusiasm and dedication to teaching her students about energy and sustainability and encouraging them to take action. Weismiller has made energy literacy a focus throughout her teaching. Whether her students are learning about eco-justice and environmental refugees in her world issues class or looking at sustainable energy sources in her geography class, Weismiller makes sure that students understand the importance of sustainability and that they all have the skills necessary to become changemakers in the world. 

Quotes from teachers about their experience this year:

  • “We had a great experience overall! It was a tough year with teaching through COVID-19 and I loved being able to still work through these activities.” – Sara Mercer, Cresthaven Public School
  • “The challenges are fun and informative, while also connecting to the curriculum. These real-life, at-home exercises are perfect for students learning at school or remotely. Thank you for this excellent contest!” – Brennan Caverhill, Bishop Macdonnel Catholic Elementary School
  • “Thank you for offering this energy challenge when it is so crucial for everyone to become aware of how we use our planet’s resources. My students were engaged with the variety of tasks provided by your team and they didn’t become overwhelmed because the tasks were achievable. I hope their projects impact them and their families for the long term.” – Patrice Oscienny, École Isabella Dicken Elementary School
  • “The concepts learned throughout this challenge have been, and will continue to be, some of the most important lessons we can teach as educators.” – Ryan Friesen, La Salle School
  • “My students really loved having the CEDC as something that we could easily work on together both in school and virtually. It tied in so perfectly to our science unit, and the resources provided were so applicable to what we were learning.” – Caitlin Hilferty, Pine Grove Elementary School