Where to start?

With hundreds of classrooms across Canada participating in the 11th year of the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge, many teachers often ask us, “Where do I begin?” Here are some ideas to help you kick off the CEDC this year with your students. 

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.

Our top three most popular challenges:

  • How Big Are Your Carbon Feet?: This challenge is a great way to get students thinking about energy conservation and how their actions affect the environment. The lesson plan provides a list of good carbon footprint calculators that students can use to measure their impact. Students will reflect on how they consume energy and the small actions they can take 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 our 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!

Tips from past participants 

  • Look at what other teachers are doing. The 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?
  • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. As long as you respect the essence of the challenge, you can adapt what you do with your students to fit their needs, your curriculum, or student interests/abilities. 
  • 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.
  • Don’t stress about completing all 16 challenges. Focus on the ones your students are really into. To be eligible to win prizes, all you need to do is complete three challenges!