Activity Introduction

Still from 2040 documentaryQuick 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 how persuasion is an important aspect of starting a movement or action towards something new. To get others to join a new cause, they first need to be persuaded. This lesson explores some of the ways in which the documentary aims to persuade audiences to bring about action, and students are invited to use their own persuasive techniques to encourage their peers to do the same.

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 commencing from May 23. These lessons have been designed with a media library to support teachers. Find out how to see the film in cinemas here. 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 get your copy 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 understand how persuasive writing is used to encourage action
  • Students understand why different techniques are used to persuade audiences
  • Students can create works with the intention of persuading intended audiences

21st century skills: 


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 English

  • Understand and explain how the text structures and language features of texts become more complex in informative and persuasive texts and identify underlying structures such as taxonomies, cause and effect, and extended metaphors (ACELA1531)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)

Year 8 English

  • Experiment with particular language features drawn from different types of texts, including combinations of language and visual choices to create new texts (ACELT1768)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)

Syllabus outcomes: EN4-1A, EN4-4B

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards: Students understand how text structures can influence the complexity of a text and are dependent on audience, purpose and context. They demonstrate understanding of how the choice of language features, images and vocabulary affects meaning. Students understand how the selection of a variety of language features can influence an audience. They understand how to draw on personal knowledge, textual analysis and other sources to express or challenge a point of view. They create texts showing how language features and images from other texts can be combined for effect.

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards: Students understand how the selection of text structures is influenced by the selection of language mode and how this varies for different purposes and audiences. Students explain how language features, images and vocabulary are used to represent different ideas and issues in texts. Students understand how the selection of language features can be used for particular purposes and effects. They explain the effectiveness of language choices they make to influence the audience. Through combining ideas, images and language features from other texts, students show how ideas can be expressed in new ways.

Topic: Learning Through Film, Creative Thinking, Sustainability, Persuasive Writing.

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

Time required: 112 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and guide activities.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class, with internet access. Persuasive Writing Presentation. Persuasive Language Factsheet.

Keywords: persuasive devices, futuristic, sustainability, video analysis, solutions-focus, climate change.

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

Still from 2040 documentaryTeacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ... examine how persuasive devices can be used to express a point of view and influence an audience
  • ... explore how futuristic thinking can assist in imagining solutions to current environmental problems
  • ... practice applying persuasive devices to promote their visions for the future and learn how to give constructive feedback

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... identify persuasive techniques used in the film
  • ... analyse the effectiveness of persuasive techniques for their intended purpose
  • ... plan and create works using different persuasive techniques with the same intended message as the original
  • ... create futuristic texts based on stimulus material

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, "Gener

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How might persuasion help us when we share our opinions?

Recapping Persuasion

1. We know that there are always reasons why we want to persuade people. You may want people to believe you, to get them to take action or you may want to change someone’s mind about something.

Here are some very common devices to use when trying to persuade someone:

Persuasive Device Description

Power of Three

Including lists of three items/reasons in your writing.
Emotive Language Words, phrases, and imagery that create an emotional response.
Rhetorical Questions Questions to get your audience thinking - they don't require an answer.
Say Again (repetition) Repeating the same word, phrase or idea more than once for emphasis.
Undermine opposing views Criticise the opposing argument.
Anecdote Include little stories to illustrate a point.
Direct Address Involve your audience by speaking to them directly using personal pronouns and shared
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