YRDSB Climate Hack2Action

November 3-4 and 18, 2016


Middlefield Collegiate Institute (YRDSB)
525 Highglen Ave.
Markham, ON

The York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) are teaming up to deliver Climate Hack2Action, a two-day deep learning experience that will engage 96 students to generate new approaches to one of the biggest challenges our society is facing—climate change.

BII+E is committed to supporting partners like the YRDSB to explore methods for integrating innovation + entrepreneurship learning within the formal education system.

The Challenge

“What challenges do people face in making low carbon choices? How might we empower people to instinctively reduce their carbon footprint?”

How It Works: The Student Experience

During the two-day hackathon, students will form multidisciplinary teams and collaborate with policy experts, community leaders, and entrepreneurs to accelerate impactful and scalable solutions. The hackathon will culminate with a judged Pitch Competition, and the most successful pitches will have the opportunity to pitch at Quest.

This event is a modified version of Climate Hack-to-Action, a hackathon we hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) in April 2016. MOECC is also supporting the YRDSB Climate Hack2Action with climate change content and expertise.

Integrated Professional Development

In addition to supporting student learning, this event will also host integrated professional development sessions with YRDSB teachers, librarians and administration. This training will be delivered by the I‐Think Initiative, a not‐for‐profit project housed at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. I-Think believes that in order to prepare our students for the future, one of the most important roles that educators can play is to teach students the skills and mindsets necessary to solve wicked problems.

On November 3rd, workshop participants will explore design thinking tools for innovation that the students are experiencing in the hackathon. Building on this learning, November 4th workshops will explore how Integrative Thinking can be a way to explore the world and solve problems around us.

Prizes + Judging

All participants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges on November 4. Five top teams will also be invited to pitch their ideas in front of judges at Quest. Winning teams will have the chance to continue working on their ideas at Startup Weekend York Region or Ryerson Basecamp.

Solutions will be judged on the following four principles:

  • Desirability
  • Feasibility
  • Scalability
  • Impact

Climate Hack2Action Judges:

  • Chris Dudley
    Director, Seneca HELIX

  • Sarah Howe
    Director, Innovation York

  • David Kwok
    Programs and Community Coordinator, Launch Zone, Ryerson

  • Elanor Waslander
    Executive Director, Ontario EcoSchools

Quest Judges:

  • Fatima Crerar
    Senior Manager of Social Impact, ecobee

  • Hannah Alper
    YRDSB Student, Blogger, ME to WE Motivational Speaker

  • Karen Clark
    Director, Air Policy & Climate Change Branch, Ministry of Environment & Climate Change

  • Tom Zimmerman
    Research Staff Member, Master Inventor and Academy of Technology Member, IBM Research

Climate Hack2Action Student Agenda

8:30 am – Arrival
9:00 am – Welcoming Addresses
9:30 am – Context Setting: What is Design Thinking?
9:45 am – Hack Kick-Off
10:15 am – Carbon Challenges: Generate high-level daily carbon challenges
10:45 am – User Roles and Profiles + Empathy Mapping
11:15 am – Early Lunch
12:00 pm – Journey Mapping and Experience Mapping
12:30 pm – How Might We…?
1:00 pm – Future State and Reflection
1:30 pm – Break
1:45 pm – Check In and Problem Refinement
2:05 pm – Idea Generation and Theming
2:35 pm – Choosing Idea and Dot-mocracy
2:50 pm – Persona Review and Reflection
3:05 pm – Break
3:30 pm – Empirical Research and Prototyping: Mentors are unleashed.
6:30 pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Soft Close
8:00 pm – Hard Close: Everyone goes home

8:30 am – Arrival
9:00 am – Welcome and Regroup
9:10 am – Refine Pitches
11:15 am – Lunch
12:00 pm – Pitch Competition: 5 minute pitches, 3 minutes for questions
3:00 pm – Break and Judges’ Deliberation
3:30 pm – Announce Winners and Close
4:30 pm – Tear Down

What to Expect

Over the course of two days, you will develop and explore new ways of solving complex problems. On day one, your group of six will have a dedicated facilitator leading you through a process, which will allow you to explore and shape your ideas. Later in the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to refine your ideas based on feedback from a group of mentors. This group of mentors includes entrepreneurs, policy makers and climate change experts.

This event is not about who wins, it’s about the process and learning. Trust the process.

Come rested, stay hydrated, and enjoy.

Professional Development Participants:
Whether attending day one or day two, you will have the opportunity to learn new ways to teach problem solving. Uniquely hosted alongside a student hackathon, you will have the chance to observe the process in real time, while exploring ways to transfer these tools to your own learning environment.

What to Bring

  • Pens and notebooks
  • Laptops and charger (optional)
  • Water bottle
  • Extra snacks
  • Earphones/earplugs for concentration
  • Lunch and dinner will be provided


November 3-4 and 18, 2016

Contact Information

Name: Jessica Thornton
Email Address: jessica.thornton@ryerson.ca



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