The Climate Change Challenge: further reading

Entries for the Climate Change Challenge are now closed and the finalists have been announced.

On this page you will find information on the challenge for your reference, including further details on the five challenges, the judging criteria and the instructions we gave to student teams and teachers.

Student teams

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We asked students to set out their big idea, explain their inspiration, show how they think it will make a difference and consider how their solution could be turned into a reality.  Teams could include students from just a single school, or from multiple schools. Entries had to:

  • be from a team of 3-5 students aged 15-18. 
  • be submitted in the form of a 10-page PowerPoint presentation 
  • include a video they had made, up to three minutes in length. 

Teachers

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We asked high school teachers to set the agenda in the classroom with lessons that raised awareness among students about the dangers of climate change, and encouraged them to think creatively about solving it. Entries had to:

  • be from an individual teacher
  • be in the form of lesson plans that integrated climate change awareness into their school’s curriculum 
  • integrated interactive activities for critical thinking 
  • showed how they supported students in creating real-world solutions to climate change.

The five challenges

Air pollution

Air pollution, caused by factors such as industrial emissions and vehicle exhaust, contributes to respiratory problems and other health issues.

Students can explore innovative ways to reduce air pollution, such as developing sustainable transportation options or creating air filtration systems for homes and schools.

Extreme weather

Climate change leads to more frequent and intense extreme weather events like hurricanes, droughts and heatwaves - each of which has a significant impact on health.

High school students can brainstorm solutions to help communities better prepare for and respond to these events, like designing early warning systems, developing resilient infrastructure, or creating sustainable farming practices through what is called agritech.

Diseases carried by insects

Climate change affects the spread of diseases carried by insects, like mosquitoes.

Students can brainstorm innovative methods to prevent and control vector-borne diseases, such as creating eco-friendly mosquito repellents, designing smart traps, or developing strategies for disease surveillance and prevention.

Food security

Climate change impacts agriculture, making it harder to produce enough food to feed everyone. Food scarcity directly impacts nutrition, and malnutrition is a major risk factor for many diseases.

High school students can explore solutions to improve food security, like vertical farming techniques, sustainable farming practices, or developing climate-resilient crop varieties.

Water scarcity

Climate change affects water availability, leading to droughts in some areas and floods in others. Having too little water can contribute to significant health issues, while floods can cause other health hazards.

Students can propose ways to conserve water and manage resources more effectively, such as implementing rainwater harvesting systems, developing innovative irrigation methods, or designing water filtration systems for communities in need.

Resources

Helpful resources on each of the five challenges, that helped support applications.

Help with lesson plans

To equip students and teachers in entering the challenge, the world-renowned Eden Project offered free access to a lesson plan - Climate Response - Doers, Shoppers, Learners, Shouters - and further teaching resources. They also gave access Climate Conversations, their archive of resources on climate change.

How were entries judged?

Entries have been judged against the following criteria, for student teams and teachers.

Student teams

  • Identifying the problem
  • Research and analysis of the issue
  • Level of innovation and creativity
  • Feasibility and practicality of implementing your solution
  • The impact and stability of solution, is it scalable?
  • Clarity of presentation
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Ethical considerations and wider impact, is the approach inclusive and fair?
  • Sustainability and long-term impact of the proposal
  • Overall impression - professionalism, passion and commitment.

Teachers

  • Educational impact
  • Alignment with curriculum
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Clarity and structure
  • Engagement and student participation
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Integration of technology
  • Ethical considerations and stakeholder impact
  • Practicality and replicability
  • Overall impression.

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