Activity Introduction


In this lesson, students will be immersed in, and connect with, the documentary film 2040, focusing on the topics of energy and liveability. Students will begin by participating in a barometer activity to explore their understanding of liveability, and thinking about how energy and our environment relate to liveability.


Students then work collaboratively to conduct research into the impacts of fossil fuels on our environment before participating in a guided discussion around a sustainable energy case study. Students then work in groups to compare electricity produced from coal and solar and produce a report that summarises the results of their assessment.


Learning Intentions

  • Students will understand what liveability is
  • Students will understand how energy affects our environment
  • Students will understand how our environment affects liveability
  • Students will understand the relationship between energy choices and liveability

Lesson & Curriculum Details

  • Topic: Sustainability, Energy.
  • Unit of work: 2040 – Geography – Years 7 to 10
  • Time required: 60+ mins.
  • Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activities and facilitate class discussions.
  • Keywords: 2040 documentary, energy, environment, liveability.

To view our Australian Curriculum alignment click here.

To view our NZ Curriculum alignment click here.

Resources Required

  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.
  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class.
  • One copy of the AGREE/DISAGREE signs

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

Still from 2040 documentaryTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students understand...

  • ... what liveability is
  • ... how energy affects our environment
  • ... how our environment affects liveability
  • ... the relationship between energy choices and liveability

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... undertake research
  • ... produce a report based on criteria
  • ... participate in group and class discussions
  • ... work collaboratively and independently

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 report indicates that young people have a serious mistrust in the Government's ability or willingness to tackle climate change.

Tackling cl

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Where does your energy come from?

What is Liveability?

You will now be watching a clip about liveability and using the following questions to guide an analysis of this clip. Record your thoughts in response to each question:

1. What points does Herbert raise about the physical aspects of a city?

2. What points does Herbert raise about the social components of a city?


3. What does Herbert say about the cultural aspects of a place?


4. What are the 'ingredients' for a liveable city?


Exploring Liveability and our Environment Through Energy

1. You will now be investigating how energy - one of the physical factors of liveability included in the clip you watched earlier - affects our environment.

First, consider the following:

From the time of the Industrial Revolution, most energy generation relied on fossil fuels (fossil fuels are natural fuels that were formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms). The role that energy gene

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