Activity Introduction


In this lesson, students will be immersed in and connect with the documentary film 2040 – it is a great lesson to conduct before watching the documentary in full. Students participate in a barometer activity to explore their thoughts, feelings, and concerns about the future. They then work to categorise their concerns about the future and work in groups to mind-map solutions to these concerns.


Students will then watch the 2040 documentary to explore existing solutions to the filmmaker’s concerns about the future. Finally, students reflect on their experiences of the film.


Learning Intentions

  • Students will understand that different people have different ideas and concerns about the future.
  • Students will understand that solutions to the problems facing people and the planet already exist.

Lesson & Curriculum Details

  • Topic: Sustainability.
  • Unit of work: 2040 – Watching the Film – Years 5–10
  • Time required: 70 mins.
  • Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, lead students in activities.
  • Keywords: 2040 documentary, future, barometer activity, concerns, solutions.

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 that different people have different ideas and concerns about the future.
  • ...understand that solutions to the problems facing people and the planet already exist.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • …participate in a barometer activity.
  • …participate in a group mind-map exercise.
  • …express their thoughts, feelings and concerns through class discussion and independent activities.
  • …adhere to classroom discussion guidelines.

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" (source). The report indicates that young people have a serious mistrust in the Governm

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What excites you about the future?

Think Pair Share

You will now complete a Think Pair Share activity to develop definitions for some or all of the following terms:

  • Climate change
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carbon sequestration 
  • Sustainability

Begin by adding the term you are defining into Column A of the table below. You can then record your own ideas for your terms in Column B. Once complete, you can team up with a classmate and discuss your ideas, adding new thoughts to Column C.

 Column A (Term) Column B (Your Ideas) Column C (Group Ideas)


You will now be selecting one thing you are personally concerned about for the future and thinking about why this is a concern and what the solution might be.

You can create either:

  • A written piece.
  • An image or graphic.
  • An audio or video recording.

In your piece you need to answer the fo

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