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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 September 2021 ISCFC session has just concluded!

The next ISCFC session will take place in Feb. 2022. Specific dates for the session will be posted by early January 2022.

Please click the Teacher participation steps below for specific dates and detailed information on the Feb 2022 ISCFC (and future sessions) 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 the release in November 2017 of 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 high school/secondary school classroom 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 early January 2022 for a listing here of important dates for the next session — which will take place in February 2022
  • Note that since Feb 2020 session, we have featured major improvements to our communications platform, including video and image support and the ability to follow posts!
    • Click here or on the "Discuss" footprint in the top banner to visit and try out the new & improved forum (launched Sep 2019, updated Feb 2020).
  • Questions? 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 — Feb 2022 (or a future session)
    click here to view/hide details of this step
  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.
      Oct 11, 2017: Now updated with a brand new "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)!
    • Here is a useful pictorial key (updated Apr 2020) 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! (guide posted Sep 2019)
    • Teachers should visit the Teacher Planning discussion page and introduce yourself to the other Feb 2022 ISCFC teachers, share resources and ideas, and suggest additional discussion topics.
  4. Make the most out of the ISCFC by visiting our Resources page for links, lesson plans, documentation, and more!
Student participation steps  (click here to expand/collapse)
Students:  do you want to have your high school/secondary school classroom 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 (updated May 12, 2015 — now updated with new calculator options: e.g., LED lights)!
    • 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 (updated Apr 2020) to the features of our calculator. ...or click here to download the guide (updated Apr 2020) to using our new 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
  4. Discuss!
    click here to view/hide details of this step
    • Review the detailed guide for using our new discussion forum site.
    • The previous session of conversations officially closed in October 2021, but you can join anytime.
    • Follow the instructions, examining and registering at the discussion site.
    • 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!
  • The next ISCFC session will be in Feb 2022; see the Teacher participation steps link above , and check back in Jan 2022 for the exact dates and detailed information on the next session.
  • Check out the amazing student conversations from previous sessions, and click on the Teacher participation steps section, under “Participate” above, for more information on how to involve your class(es) in future sessions.
  • As of October 11, 2017, our updated calculator is now online! The new 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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