Activity Introduction


In this lesson, students will be immersed in, and connect with, the documentary film 2040, focusing on the topic of climate change. Students begin by participating in a barometer activity to introduce them to some of the key terms around climate change. Students then work in groups to investigate a few of the key contributing factors to climate change – energy, food, and transport – by formulating a question around their assigned factor that could be explored through research.


These questions are then redistributed among the class for them to find answers to. Again, working collaboratively, students will formulate a question that could be addressed through an experiment or fieldwork, and develop a plan and justification for this experiment/fieldwork idea.


Learning Intentions

  • Students will understand the key terms and processes relating to climate change
  • Students will recognise the key contributing factors to climate change
  • Students will recognise the role of developing a question to guide scientific research

Lesson & Curriculum Details

  • Topic: Sustainability, Climate Change.
  • Unit of work: 2040 – Science – Years 7 to 10
  • Time required: 70 mins.
  • Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium to high – oversee activities and facilitate class discussions.
  • Keywords: 2040 documentary, climate change, energy, food, transport.

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

globeTeacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will ...

  • ... understand key terms and processes relating to climate change
  • ... recognise the key contributing factors to climate change
  • ... recognise the role of developing a question to guide scientific research

Success criteria: Students can …

  • ... work collaboratively and independently
  • ... participate in class and group discussions
  • ... select a science-based communication method suitable for their own work
  • ... formulate questions that can be answered through research and experiments or fieldwork
  • ... create and justify a plan for a scientific investigation

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 a

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What is the link between human activity and climate change?

Understanding The Factors Contributing To Climate Change

1. Working in your groups you will now investigate one of the following factors contributing to climate change, based on the number your group has been assigned (i.e. if you have been assigned number 1, you will focus on energy etc.):

  1. Energy
  2. Food
  3. Transport

Each group needs to formulate at least five questions that could be answered through online research. Record these below:

The factor we are formulating questions for:











As a class, select one question that you think is the most interesting.

2. You will now work in your groups to think of an experiment or field work you could do to better understand the factor you researched. To begin this process, work in your group to make a question (or aim) that could be answered through fieldwork or an experiment, then develop a plan around how this resea

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