Activity Introduction


In this lesson, students will explore the traditional circular flow economic model and evaluate the factors of the economy that are not considered. They will share their own views about the circular flow economic model.


Students will then explore an alternative framework, as examined in the film, 2040 – ‘Doughnut Economics’. They will evaluate the similarities and differences between the two models.


Learning Intentions

  • Students understand the limitations of the circular flow economic model
  • Students understand the principles of the ‘doughnut’ economic model
  • Student understand the difference between both circular flow and ‘doughnut’ economic models.

Lesson & Curriculum Details

  • Topic: Learning Through Film, Climate Change, Sustainability, Consumption, Social Issues.
  • Unit of work: 2040 – Economics and Business – Years 7 to 10
  • Time required: 60 mins.
  • Level of teacher scaffolding:  Medium – facilitate class discussion
  • Keywords: economic model, circular flow, doughnut economics, Kate Raworth, consumer, goods & services, factors of production, wealth, power, Venn diagram, 2040, documentary, sustainability, climate change.

To view our Australian Curriculum alignment click here.

To view our NZ Curriculum alignment click here.

Resources Required

Accessing the Film

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. 

In Australia: Order the Schools Version of the 2040 DVD. The Schools Version includes an educational license and is for Australian primary and secondary schools that wish to utilise the film as a learning tool or host free on-site screenings for the school community.

In New Zealand: Find out how to see the film here. 2040 is currently only available in NZ cinemas and you can make a group booking for your class at your local cinema. The Schools Version of the DVD and BluRay will be released in New Zealand on 7th November 2019. This version includes an educational licence that covers classroom use and on-site screenings for the school community. To pre-order a copy for your school, please email: [email protected].


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 AustraliaShark Island InstituteDocumentary Australia FoundationThe Caledonia Foundation and our philanthropic partners in the development of these teaching resources.



Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … understand the limitations of the circular flow economic model
  • … understand the principles of the ‘doughnut’ economic model
  • … understand the difference between both circular flow and ‘doughnut’ economic models

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … identify the principles of the circular flow economic model
  • … identify the importance of environmental and social wellbeing in an economic model
  • … ideate features of an ideal economic model
  • … compare two economic models (circular flow and ‘doughnut’)

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 will mean for their own children, while Generation Y is concerned about the impact on future generations" (The Educator). The repo

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all, within the means of the planet." – Kate Raworth

Circular Flow Economic Model

1. Label the diagram with the what you think each arrow might represent.


2. Think – Pair – Share

  1. Work independently to answers to the questions in Column A of the table below. Record your answers in Column B. 
  2. Team up with a partner to share and discuss your ideas. Add any new thoughts to Column C. 

Column A  Column B Column C
  • What problems do you see with such as simplistic economic model?


  • Who and what is not being represented – what is missing?

3. In your pairs, list all the things that are not represented in this model in the space below or by annotating the diagram above.

Comparing Economic Models

1. Use the Venn diagram below to compare the similarities and differences of the Circular Flow and the Doughnut economic models.

2. Work with

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