National Classroom Challenge

A new geological epoch—the Anthropocene—has been proposed by scientists to mark the fact that humanity has now become the primary driver of physical change on the planet. Our everyday activities are now permanently affecting the Earth’s natural processes more than all other natural forces combined — causing unprecedented changes and unforeseen outcomes. Many students are unaware that everything they do places a demand on nature, from the food they consume to the clothing they buy.

The primary objective of this challenge is to deepen student understanding of human-environment interactions at local, regional and global scales and inspire the next generation to take action against unsustainable everyday human practices. 

The Anthropocene Project, which is spearheaded by artists Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal, has had great success in helping audiences understand the intricacies of the Anthropocene through film installations, books, large-scale high-resolution murals enhanced by film extensions, 360-degree virtual reality films and augmented reality installations. Thus, the second objective of this challenge is to give students the opportunity to explore creative storytelling through these various forms of media and share their stories about Earth and humanity’s role within nature with the rest of Canada and the world. 

Here’s how the challenge works

  • Teachers must submit a mini Anthropocene project created by their students based on the original Anthropocene Project developed by Edward Burynsky, Nicholas De Pencier, and Jennifer Baichwal.
  • Submissions must be based on original work by students, and should investigate human influences on the state, dynamic and future of the Earth using any combination of the following:
    • Scientific research
    • Digital art
    • Free/Street art
    • Portraits
    • Magazines
    • Mixed media
    • Sculptures
    • Posters
    • Contemporary art
    • Performance art
    • Creative writing
    • Augmented reality
    • Virtual reality
    • Silent film
    • Experimental and scripted film
    • Interpretive dance
  • The contest is open to Canadian teachers and students in grades 4 to 12. The deadline for final project submissions is May 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm ET.
  • All submissions will be judged by a panel of experts. A total of ten (10) winners will be selected, consisting of an overall grand prize winner and a first, second and third place winner in each of the following categories: grades 4-6, grades 7-9 and grades 10-12.
  • Winning classrooms are eligible for cash prizes, educational materials and recognition for themselves and their school!