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 begin by working in groups to imagine what the world might look like in 2040 based on a range of categories, such as diet, fashion, buildings, transport, and technology. They are then introduced to the 2040 documentary by watching and responding to a short clip that establishes the key messages of the film.


Students are then guided to prepare an information collection sheet, helping them respond to the film and conduct research around key messages of the film (optional).


Learning Intentions

  • Students will understand that different people have different ideas and concerns about the future.

Lesson & Curriculum Details

  • Topic: Sustainability.
  • Unit of work: 2040 – Watching the Film – Years 5–10
  • Time required: 60 mins.
  • Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, lead students in activities.
  • Keywords: 2040 documentary, future, information collection sheet.

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.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • …work collaboratively.
  • …engage in class and group discussions.
  • …develop a range of inquiry questions.
  • …express their thoughts, feelings and concerns through class discussion and independent activities.

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 Government's ability or willingness to tackle climate change.

Tackling climate change requires large-scale, systemic cha

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What would you like to be doing in 2040?

Watching the 2040 Clip

Record any ideas that you find important or interesting while watching the clip, in the space below:

Think Pair Share

You will now complete a Think Pair Share activity to reflect on the clip you just watched.

Begin by recording your own ideas 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:

Question Column A (Your Ideas) Column B (Group Ideas)
What happened in this clip? What was this clip about?    
What does this clip make you think about?    
What did you find interesting or important about this clip?    
How did this clip make you feel?    
What else do you want to know about this clip?    


Be prepared to share your responses with the class.


Work independently to respond to the following question:

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