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Welcome to the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge!

We can measure our personal carbon footprints by calculating how much greenhouse gas our activities produce.

Every time we turn on a light, travel by car, eat a meal, switch on a TV, or use anything that requires energy, we produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

The challenge involves understanding the causes of climate change and then envisioning and embodying effective solutions so that we, as a planet, can avoid the worst potential consequences.

The October-November 2022 ISCFC session has now officially ended!

The next ISCFC session will take place in April 2023 in celebration of the 52nd Earth Day

Specific dates for the session will be posted by March 2023. In the meantime, please click the Teacher participation steps below for more information on the ISCFC and how to involve your students.

Note that all ISCFC tools —including the footprint calculators and the conversation forum— are available year round.

In addition to Secondary School and college/university students and beyond, we now welcome Middle School students (ages ~10-13) to the Challenge sessions with our "Basic" version of the footprint calculator. ¡Disponible también en Español!

Are you ready to take the Challenge?

Follow these steps:

1. Participate:
Teacher participation steps  (click here to expand/collapse)

Teachers:  do you want to have your class take the challenge?

There are three main steps in the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge (ISCFC):

  1. Students calculate their carbon footprint
  2. Teachers submit their class data for posting, and review other class data posted on our world map
  3. Students log on to our online conversation site and participate in ISCFC discussions with students around the globe
Check back in March 2023 for a listing here of important dates for the next session — which will take place in April 2023
  • Questions or comments -- including your classroom ideas for the ISCFC? Email ISCFC co-director Jason Hodin [larvador(at)uw.edu] or curriculum coordinator Pam Miller [pam.miller6164(at)gmail.com].

You may modify any part of the following procedure to suit your class needs, but these are the steps that we suggest you follow:

  1. Prepare for the next session — Apr 2023 (or a future session)
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • Examine our International Student Carbon Footprint Calculator to see if you agree that it would benefit your students.
      Options include both a "basic" calculation (geared to ages 10-13) and an "advanced" calculation (geared to ages 13-18 and up), as well as full mobile compatibility! ¡Disponible también en Español!
    • Fill out and submit the online ISCFC Teacher Participation Form to sign up for the current or a future ISCFC session — or you can download, fill in and email a text version instead.
      The next session will be in Apr 2023.
      Filling out the form will allow us to add your class & school to the footprint database.
    • Download and examine the Excel spreadsheet that you will use in Step B below to gather your students' footprint data.
      Need help filling out the Excel spreadsheet? Download these instructions.
      No access to Excel or OpenOffice? Email media & content coordinator Jason Hodin (larvador[at]uw.edu) for a link to an online google doc.
    • Download and examine this useful pictorial key to the features of the calculator (you might consider projecting this for your students in advance or during their calculator session).
    • Download a detailed step-by-step guide to our new discussion forum — and please share this guide with your students!
    • Explore, register and logon to our communication platform, to meet other participating teachers and plan for the communication sessions involving your students.
  2. Students calculate personal footprint & you submit your class data
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • We suggest having your students fill out this Calculator Prep Worksheet in advance — it will make the process faster and more accurate.
    • Students go to the Challenge site and calculate their footprints.
      We offer a "basic" calculator version (geared to ages 10-13) alongisde the original "advanced" version, as well as new calculator options (e.g., solar panels and electric cars)! ¡Disponible también en Español!
    • Here is a useful pictorial key to the features of the calculator (you might consider projecting this for your students in advance or during their calculator session).
    • Teachers and students may wish to download this source document with all of the sources and assumptions available in a single pdf file for all questions in the calculator.
      Note that all sources/assumptions are also available on demand during the calculations when you press the documentation button (with the 'jumble of numbers' icon).
    • You may wish to have your students fill out this class assignment as they undertake their calculations to encourage reflection on the activity.
      If you wish to modify this assigmnment, here is a version saved in Word .doc format
    • You collect your students’ data — their total footprints as well as in the four categories: home, food, purchases, transport. Fill in the Excel spreadsheet that you downloaded in Step A: the spreadsheet automatically calculates means and standard deviations for your class data.
      Please notice the part of the spreadsheet where you should enter your school information.
    • Email your completed spreadsheet to media & content coordinator Jason Hodin (larvador[at]uw.edu), and we will post your data on the Compare page map.
  3. Students discuss footprint results & possible solutions
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • Invite your students onto our communication platform to expand the discussion to their peers worldwide!
    • Download a detailed step-by-step guide to our new discussion forum — and please share this guide with your students!
    • Teachers should visit the Teacher Planning discussion page and introduce yourself to the other Apr 2023 ISCFC teachers, share resources and ideas, and suggest additional discussion topics.
      The conversation topic pages for the Apr 2023 session are now open for teacher examination.
  4. Make the most out of the ISCFC by visiting our Resources page for links, lesson plans, documentation, and more!
    • After the session: students and teachers complete the online survey and receive participation certificates.
Student participation steps  (click here to expand/collapse)
Students:  do you want to have your class take the challenge?
  1. Tell your teacher about this project
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • Give your teacher the link to the ISCFC project web site.
    • If your school is already involved, proceed to Step 2…
  2. Complete the carbon footprint calculator
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • Use the Calculate link at the top of this page.
    • Prepare in advance for the questions in the survey (e.g., numbers of light bulbs, fuel economy of home vehicle, etc.) by filling out our Calculator Prep Worksheet.
    • If suggested by your teacher, use our class assignment as you proceed through the calculator to reflect on what you discover.
    • (optional) download this pictorial key to the features of our calculator. ...or click here to download the guide to using our mobile calculator!
    • (optional) download this source document with all of the sources and assumptions available in a single pdf file for all questions in the calculator.
    • Be sure to email or print your results at the end!
    • ...and we recommend that you register (free) and save your results. That way, you can complete the survey at multiple sittings, and save your answers for future adjustments.
  3. Prepare for the discussion with your peers worldwide
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • As directed by your teacher, visit websites where you can explore possible responses at both a personal and national level, and to make pledges to make personal changes in your daily lives.
    • The United Nation Foundation's pledge from Youth Climate Pledge — spread the word!
    • Earth Day take action page (pass it on: everyday is Earth Day).
  4. Discuss!
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • Review the detailed guide for using our new discussion forum site.
    • Follow the instructions, examining and registering at the discussion site.
    • Note that you can join and add to the discussions anytime.
    • You will find links on the right side of that page to all of the official ISCFC student discussion topic pages under the Student Discussions title.
    • Refer to the General Announcements page anytime for instructions and updates.
    • Have an idea for a discussion topic? Post your thoughts in the "Open Forum" discussion, and we will choose some of these to be featured as their own discussion!
  5. Additional resources
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    Eager to go further? Take a look at our Resources page for links and related resources dedicated to climate change.
Use our student-oriented footprint calculator to calculate your personal footprint, and find out what you can do to reduce your impact.
Compare students’ footprints worldwide.
Meet students and teachers around the globe to discuss what you've learned and envision solutions to safeguard OUR planet's future!
Notes:
  • The current ISCFC session is Apr 2023; see the Teacher participation steps link above for the exact dates and detailed information on this session.
  • Check out the amazing student conversations from this and previous sessions, and click on the Teacher participation steps section, under “Participate” above, for more information on how to involve your class(es) in this or future sessions.
  • As of October 11, 2017, our updated calculator is online! This version includes the most recent international footprint data, new question choices, options for "basic" and "advanced" calculations, versions in both Spanish and English (with on-demand language translation support), and fully functional mobile versions (for phones and tablets)!
  • Enjoy, and please let us know (larvador[at]uw.edu) if you encounter any problems with the calculator or any other I2SEA resources.
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