Activity Introduction

Quick summary: 2040 is an innovative feature documentary that looks to the future, but is vitally important NOW! Director Damon Gameau embarks on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream.

This teaching resource is designed to guide students through a project where they will consolidate and extend learning from any of the other lessons in the 2040 units; 2040 – Business & Economics, 2040 – Mathematics, 2040 – Geography, 2040 – English, and 2040 – Science

This teaching resource provides you with multiple lessons worth of material that can be used to immersed students in, and connect with, the positive sustainability messages explored in the documentary film 2040. Students begin by assessing where their community is in terms of the themes of the 2040 documentary. Next, students take inspiration from the solutions presented in 2040, to propose ideas for leading their community to a better future. Students work collaboratively to develop a 2040 vision for their community and present their ideas to the community. Based on feedback from the community, they then work together to design, plan and implement a project from their 2040 community vision. The social action created can be used to engage your school or the wider community. Following project completion, students will celebrate and reflect on the success of their project and their participation in the project.

2040 is only available in cinemas until later in 2019. You can make a group booking for your class at your local cinema during the film’s theatrical release. Find out how to see the film in cinemas hereThese lessons have been designed with a media library to support teachers. The Schools Version of the 2040 DVD is now also available for pre-order! School-based screenings can commence from September 1st – pre-order now to ensure that the DVD is delivered to you before the end of August. The Schools Version includes an educational license, allowing you to play it in class as a learning tool or even host on-site screenings for your school community. 

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand that they have a role to play in creating the future they want to see
  • Students will understand and plan the processes required for planning and executing an action-based community project

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: This lesson can be used with all learning areas of the Australian Curriculum to extend previous learning in the lessons from all secondary 2040 lessons.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.6, OI.7, OI.8, OI.9

Topic: Sustainability

Unit of work: 2040 – Business & Economics, 2040 – Mathematics, 2040 – Geography, 2040 – English, and 2040 – Science.  

Time required: 290+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activities and facilitate class discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Project Planning Tool. Project Checklist. SMART Goals.

Keywords: 2040 documentary, community, future, 2040 themes, social action.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Cool Australia, GoodThing Productions and Regen Pictures would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of Good Pitch Australia, Shark Island Institute, Documentary Australia Foundation, The Caledonia Foundation and our philanthropic partners in the development of these teaching resources.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ...understand that they have a role to play in creating the future they want to see
  • ...understand and plan the processes required for planning and executing a social action project

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ...assess their community according to criteria
  • ...identify an action they want to take for a better future in their community
  • ...follow the processes and steps required for planning and executing a social action project
  • ...participate in group and class discussion
  • collaboratively and independently
  • ...use their skills and interests to engage their community in conversations and actions for change

Teacher content information: A 2018 study by The University of Melbourne on the thoughts and concerns of young people from Generations X and Y found the number one concern across both groups was lack of action around climate change. In particular, "Generation X worries what climate change wi

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What's your vision for the future?

In this lesson you will be imagining how some of the solutions presented in the 2040 documentary could be adapted and applied to your own community. You will be doing this by:

  1. Thinking about how your community looks now.
  2. Imagining how your community could look in 2040.
  3. Investigating what solutions already exist to create this 2040 vision of your community.
  4. Creating a ‘vision board’ to communicate how your community could look in 2040.
  5. Sharing your ideas with the community.
  6. Selecting an idea to implement.

Community Assessment

Once you have gathered your data about your community, work in your groups to assess this data by answering the following questions (you will also need to refer to the table you created earlier as a class):

1. What did you observe about the points in Column A in your community?

2. What other things did you notice about your community that you think are important to creating a better 2040?

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