Activity Introduction


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.


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

Lesson & Curriculum Details

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

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: Order the Schools Version of the 2040 DVD. The Schools Version includes an educational license and is for New Zealand primary and secondary schools that wish to utilise the film as a learning tool or host free on-site screenings for the school community.

If you are teaching in either New Zealand or Australia, you can now organise a virtual screening of the film for your class. To enquire about this option, simply email [email protected] and the 2040 team will help you set this up! If you have already bought a DVD of the film and you have a ClickView account, you can email the team for permission to upload the film to your account to make it more easily accessible for your teachers and students.


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

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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