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.

In this lesson, students will be immersed in, and connect with, the documentary film 2040, focusing on the topic of food chains and food webs. Students begin by completing a Flipped Classroom preparation activity to introduce the topics of food chains and food webs. Back in the classroom, students are asked to share what they learnt about food chains and webs before exploring energy flow and trophic levels in a marine food web. They then participate in an activity to demonstrate how food webs can collapse when organisms within the food web experience a decline in numbers. Students then explore how seaweed farming could improve marine food webs as well as benefit human populations. Finally, students are asked to think about what other actions humans can take to improve marine food webs and to communicate their ideas through a poster or infographic.

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 what a food chain is and what a food web is.
  • Students will understand how marine food webs are vulnerable to human activities.
  • Students will understand actions that humans can take to improve marine food webs and habitats.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 Science

  • Interactions between organisms, including the effects of human activities, can be represented by food chains and food webs (ACSSU112)
  • Solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, may impact on other areas of society and may involve ethical considerations (ACSHE120)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS133)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-15LW, SC4-11PW, SC4-9WS

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, OI.8, OI.9

Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms. They communicate their ideas, methods, and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.  

Topic: Sustainability, Biodiversity.

Unit of work: 2040 – Science – Years 7 to 10

Time required: 90 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. Food chains and food webs factsheet. Trophic levels factsheetMarine food webs activity. Marine food webs activity – answers, Ocean Acidification Factsheet.

Keywords: 2040 documentary, food chains, food webs, habitats, marine environments, human impacts, seaweed, algae.

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 what a food chain is and what a food web is
  • ... understand how marine food webs are vulnerable to human activities
  • ... understand actions that humans can take to improve marine food webs and habitats

Success criteria: Students can …

  • ... complete a flipped classroom activity in their own time
  • ... participate in class and group discussions
  • ... work independently and collaboratively
  • ... undertake research
  • ... create an infographic or poster

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

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What do food webs have to do with sustainability?

Preparation - Flipped classroom

In preparation for the lesson on food chains and food webs, you need to watch the following two clips (in order) and answer the related questions (below):

Clip 1 - Fabulous Food Chains

Clip 2 - Home Sweet Habitat


1. In your own words, describe a food chain.


2. In your own words, describe a food web.


3. What is the original source of all the energy in a food chain/web and why?


4. What is at the bottom of an Arctic food web and how would you describe them?


5. Why do you think we need food web models?


6. Where does our understanding of ecosystems fit with our understanding of food chains?


7. What vocabulary presented in these clips was new to you?

8. What information presented in these clips are you unclear about? What would you like to know more about?

9. Bonus question: How might studying food webs help us to understand some of the

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