Two Grade 5 classes at Oakville’s Pine Grove Public School have received national acknowledgement for their participation in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge
Teacher Caitlin Hilferty and her Grade 5 classroom spent several months fulfilling challenges in the Canada-wide Classroom Energy Diet Challenge (CEDC) organized by the Canadian Geographic Education organization
. The CEDC is an annual competition open to all Canadian Kindergarten-Grade 12 classrooms, and more than 500 classes took part this year. The overall aim of the competition is to increase energy awareness.
Pine Grove PS teacher Caitlin Hilferty explains students completed more than a dozen challenges ranging from simple tasks like making it a daily routine to eat lunch with the lights off using natural light from the windows (the ‘One Hour No Power
’ challenge), to creating stop-motion videos with energy saving tips (the ‘Video Challenge
’) and research assignments on various renewable energy options (the ‘A Green-Powered Canada
As a result of their work, the Pine Grove classes received a $450 cash prize for the ‘Limited Edition: Game Time!
’ challenge, which was a special prize awarded to 10 schools to celebrate 10 years participating in the CEDC.
Hilferty says she’s proud of how students adapted to completing the challenges while learning remotely.
“With some of the challenges, we needed to adapt to a virtual approach such as the ‘Video Challenge’, where we used Google Slides to create our stop-motion videos, and they turned out amazing,” she says. “I think being able to continue with meaningful projects that we had started together in person was one way of keeping kids engaged and motivated while we were physically apart at home.”
This competition lines up well with the Grade 5 science unit of ‘Conservation of Energy and Resources’ in the curriculum, Hilferty says.
“Students learned about new renewable energy sources, like biomass and tidal energy, which broadened their understanding beyond the more common sources like solar and hydroelectric,” she says, noting the challenge connected to the HDSB 2020-2024 Multi-Year Plan
’s Learning and Achievement and Environmental Leadership sections.
“None of the challenges in the CEDC are the same, which means that each time we tackled a new one together they were able to demonstrate learning in creative new ways, and this really helped to keep engagement high with students.”
Students say the challenge opened their eyes to the many ways society can conserve energy to better the health of the planet. Some mentioned learning about the concept of ‘phantom energy’, in which chargers, for example, that are plugged into an outlet but not charging a device still use power.
“I have learned new ways to help our environment and how important it is to do so,” says Grade 5 student Ella. “By knowing these new tips and tricks, I can do my part in making a difference.”
“Ways to take care of the environment are as simple as turning off the lights when you leave the room or turning off the tap while brushing your teeth,” says Grade 5 student Miles. “As small as these things are, they can make a big difference.”