Local public schools may be on spring break, but members of a Grade 4/5 class at Stawamus Elementary School are spending at least part of their two-week hiatus focusing on projects that could win the class prestige and valuable prizes shortly after their return.
Even if Ms. Hain’s students don’t win the grand prize, it’s a good bet the students will have learned a lot about the impact of their, and their community’s, energy-related choices when the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge wraps up on March 30.
As of Tuesday (March 20), the class was tied for eighth place in the nationwide challenge being staged by Canadian Geographic. The contest, details of which can be found at www.energydiet.canadiangeographic.ca, challenges youngsters across the country to reduce their energy consumption in a variety of ways to earn points and influence those around them.
Ms. Sarah Hain, the youngsters’ teacher, said she learned about the challenge through an email and immediately thought it would be a good fit for the class, which recently undertook a similar “Zero Waste Challenge” offered at schools in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Reducing waste as a way of reducing energy consumption is just one of the 25 tasks included in the Energy Diet Challenge. In addition to the garbage audit they did as part of the zero-waste initiative, Hain said the students recently had a re-gifting exchange, giving gently used shirts, books and other items they were no longer using to classmates.
Before spring break, students were asked to take part in energy-saving activities at home and report back to the class when it reconvenes on March 26. This should get the group closer to its goal of completing all 25 tasks that were part of the challenge, Hain said.
“We’re in fifth in Canada right now and I think I counted more than 400 classes participating. I didn’t realize it was going to be this big,” she said.
Another aspect of the program is for the students to challenge at least 140 members of the broader community to sign a pledge to reduce their energy consumption for a given period. All it takes is for community members to visit Ms. Hain’s class page on the website and sign up, then reply to the “confirmation” email after it arrives in their inbox.
At the end of the challenge, one participating class will win a draw prize of a SmartBoard. The class that comes out on top in the challenge will earn $500 for school supplies, $500 for a class party and $500 to a charity of the class’s choice, Hain said.