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 climate change. Students are introduced to this lesson by participating in a guided discussion around a clip from 2040. They then explore how actions for climate change can be categorised as either carbon reduction actions or carbon sequestration actions, before looking at examples of each from the 2040 documentary. Students are then introduced to a range of natural solutions to climate change. They work collaboratively to research, read, analyse and reflect on one or more articles about natural solutions to climate change, before conducting a SWOT analysis of these solutions and engaging in a class discussion around their analysis.

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 key terms and processes relating to climate change
  • Students will understand that the actions we can take for meeting the challenges of climate change broadly fall into two categories; actions for reducing carbon production and carbon sequestration
  • Students will understand some of the natural solutions to climate change

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 10 Science 

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-12ES, SC5-9WS

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.8

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres. They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.

Topic: Sustainability, Climate Change.

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

Time required: 95+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in guided discussion, oversee activities and facilitate class discussions, oversee debate.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. SWOT Analysis Template. Articles:

Optional resources: Climate Change Factsheet. Geoengineering Factsheet. Debate Guidelines.

Keywords: 2040 documentary, climate change, carbon sequestration, carbon reduction, geoengineering.

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 key terms and processes relating to climate change
  • ... understand that the actions we can take for meeting the challenges of climate change broadly fall into two categories: actions for reducing carbon production and carbon sequestration
  • ... understand some of the natural solutions to climate change

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... work independently and collaboratively
  • ... participate in class and group discussion
  • ... undertake research
  • ... complete a SWOT analysis

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 ind

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: How can we use nature to stop Climate Change?

Actions for Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change

You will now complete a Think Pair Share activity to create a definition for each of the following terms:

  • Reducing carbon production
  • Carbon sequestration

Begin by working independently to record your initial thoughts in Column A of the table below. Once complete, you can team up with a classmate and discuss your ideas, adding new thoughts to Column B.

  Column A Column B
Reducing carbon production
Carbon sequestration

Solutions to Climate Change

The threat of climate change has meant that some people are thinking of highly creative ways of meeting the challenge of climate change. These loosely fall into two categories:

  • Technological solutions – These are solutions that require human-engineered technologies to remove carbon and reduce global heating. These solutions are often described as ‘Geoengineering’ and come with a lot
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