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 engage in solutions-focused thinking about the challenge of climate change. Students will engage with visions of 2040 through film clips and discussion. Students will synthesise research with their own ideas to create a storyboard about their vision of 2040. This storyboard can be used to plan a variety of texts, depending upon your class priorities.

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 understand that solutions to climate change already exist
  • Students will consider how these solutions might affect their lives and the lives of others
  • Students will elaborate on facts to create an imaginative futuristic text

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 English

  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)

Year 10 English

  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-1A

General capabilities: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students create texts that respond to issues, interpreting and integrating ideas from other texts. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, comparing and evaluating responses to ideas and issues.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, building on others’ ideas, solving problems, justifying opinions and developing and expanding arguments.

Topic: Learning Through Film, Climate Change, Energy, Sustainability.

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

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – students mostly conduct work in partners or follow worksheet.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Student devices with internet access. Sticky notes or class access to online collaborative documents. Butcher’s paper or A3 paper. Markers. Storyboard Template (optional). 

Keywords: 2040, documentary, film, brainstorming, climate change, creative, narrative, solutions, future-focussed, vision, fact-based dreaming.

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 that solutions to climate change already exist
  • ... consider how these solutions might affect their lives and the lives of others
  • ... use facts as creative prompts for imaginative writing

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... identify solutions explored in a video
  • ... undertake research to explore solutions
  • ... elaborate on facts provided to create an imaginative futuristic text

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 indicates that young people have a serious mistrust in the Government's ability or willingness to ta

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What is fact-based dreaming?

Climate Change Solutions

Although climate change is a huge problem, there are many solutions that can help us with meeting the challenges posed by a changing climate. How many solutions to climate change can you come up with in 5 minutes? List them below in the two columns provided.

I know this solution exists I hope this solution exists/I wish it existed

Visions of 2040

You will now be watching two clips that describe exciting visions of the year 2040. These come from a documentary called 2040. This film imagines what the future might look like if we applied currently existing solutions and technologies to help meet the challenges of climate change.

Watch the following two videos and while you watch, record any interesting innovations, solutions or aspects of the visions of 2040 presented in the film in Column A of the table below.

Energy Case Study - Future Password: 2040_EDU ( 

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