CEDC: Where to begin

Article by Can Geo Education

To help you get ready, we asked some teachers who have participated in the past how they begin the CEDC with their students and how they tackle the challenges.

For the past ten years, the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge (CEDC) has been inspiring teachers and students to take their energy conservation to the next level and encourage others to do the same. The CEDC has also been a program that allows students to take their ideas and get creative, while competing against other classrooms across the country. 

At first glance, completing 17 challenges during the global COVID-19 pandemic can seem a bit overwhelming, so, to help you get ready, we asked some teachers who have participated in the past how they begin the CEDC with their students and how they tackle the challenges.

  • Create your class avatar (logo) and motto.

    This is a great way to get your students excited about the CEDC! In the past, some teachers have asked every student in their class to design their own avatar and then held a class vote, where the winner’s design was then uploaded to the classroom’s online account. Other teachers have had a discussion with students about what is important to include and tasked a student or group of students to design the avatar. Teachers have also used their school’s mascot. Try to choose an image or motto that best reflects your classroom goals. Visit the Classroom page to see what other classrooms have created.

  • Challenges teachers like to begin with (and why!):

    • How Big Are Your Carbon Feet?: This challenge is a great way to get students thinking about energy conservation and how their actions impact the environment. The lesson plan provides a list of good carbon footprint calculators that students can use to measure their footprints. Students will reflect on how they consume energy and the small acts they can do to decrease their carbon footprint.
    • Do You Really Need It?: This challenge allows students to examine items in their lives that use energy and then challenge themselves to go a day without using those items. This is a great challenge to help students learn about the personal connection they have with energy and to get families involved as well.
    • One Hour No Power: This is the CEDC’s most popular challenge because it is an easy one with which to begin. All you need to do is have a discussion with your students about the different activities you can do without using power (e.g., playing board games, reading, going for a walk) and then challenge yourselves to turn off the lights, unplug and go without power. The lesson provides a tally sheet to track how many hours you can go without power, so the sooner you begin, the more hours you can track!
  • Look at what other teachers are doing.

    The CEDC website is designed to allow teachers and students to not only see their own work but also the work of others. If you are not sure where to begin, or aren’t sure what to do for a particular challenge, why not check out what other teachers have done for inspiration?

  • Let students take the lead in selecting and completing challenges.

    Many teachers will divide the challenges up among their students and let them take charge on what needs to be done to complete it. Show students the different challenges and ask them which ones are of interest to them. It is a great leadership opportunity for students.

  • Friendly reminders:

    • You only need to compete three challenges to win prizes.

      Many teachers decide that completing all 17 challenges is too much for them so they decide to just complete their favourites—and that’s okay! The goal of the CEDC is to encourage students to be aware of how energy impacts their lives and work towards reducing their energy use (while having fun). You only need to complete three challenges to be eligible to win prizes. Please note, the more challenges you do complete, the better chance you have of winning prizes.

    • Resources, lessons and student worksheets are provided!

      For each of the 17 Challenges, teachers will be able to access step-by-step instructions on how to complete the challenges, as well as accompanying student worksheets and resources to help expand your learning on the topic.

    • We are here to help!

      Each week, we will be sending out newsletters and social media posts and posting blogs to offer suggestions and provide reminders throughout the contest period. If you ever have any questions, just email [email protected].

Good luck with the 2021 Classroom Energy Diet Challenge!