Activity Introduction

TCE-Yoke-Ling-photoframeQuick summary: This Changes Everything includes a book by Naomi Klein and film by Avi Lewis. The texts join the dots between climate change, economic systems and the power of community action. In this lesson students consider the question “Can a crisis also be an opportunity?” Students examine an American case study depicting the recovery effort of the town of Greensburg, Kansas following its destruction by a super tornado in 2007. Working in groups, students create specific plans for how they would re-imagine and rebuild a model ‘green school’ if a crisis like a natural disaster destroyed their school.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students recognise that a crisis can affect the political, social and economic aspects of a community.
  • Students understand how a crisis can be a moment of change.
  • Students recognise that our response to crisis can lead to something better or worse.
  • Students understand that there are a range of strategies that could be implemented to make their school a ‘green school’.

21st century skills:

Critical Thinking EmpathyCommunicating Creative Thinking Cultural UnderstandingEthical Understanding Problem Solving Global Citizenship

Advice for teachers: This unit is designed to help year 9 and 10 students to look critically at the idea of how our economic system’s push for continual growth impacts both the environment and quality of life for all people. Excerpts from the This Changes Everything book and documentary film are used as starting points throughout the lessons to spark discussion, and to put a human face on complex issues through case studies and in-depth analysis. Parts of this unit is suitable for the following learning areas: Geography, Economics and Business, Civics and Citizenship, English and Environmental Science. These lessons can be used to integrate the Cross-curricular priority of Sustainability into your learning area. Each lesson is designed to stand on its own; you can easily pick and choose what learning activities best meet your curricular goals.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 9 Civics and Citizenship

  • How and why individuals and groups, including religious groups, participate in and contribute to civic life (ACHCK079)

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 Civics and Citizenship

  • Present evidence-based civics and citizenship arguments using subject-specific language (ACHCS101)
  • Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australian, regional and global contexts (ACHCS102)

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: Critical and Creative ThinkingEthical UnderstandingIntercultural Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.6, OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Civics and Citizenship achievement standards: Students reflect on how groups participate and contribute to civic life.

Relevant parts of Year 9 English achievement standards: Students create texts that respond to issues, interpreting and integrating ideas from other texts.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Civics and Citizenship achievement standards: Students evaluate a range of factors that sustain democratic societies and present evidenced-based arguments incorporating different points of view on civics and citizenship issues.

Relevant parts of Year 10 English achievement standards: Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas.

Topic: Climate Change, Sustainability, This Changes Everything.

Unit of work: This Changes Everything.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and guide discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Access to Piktochart or Prezi. Film clips: Climate Crisis in China and Transportation in New Delhi (Taking it Further/Extension). 

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: This Changes Everything, community, change, crisis, opportunity, school.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

TCE-Lliam-Hildebrand-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will recognise that a crisis can affect the political, social and economic aspects of a community, but understand that a crisis can also be a moment of change. Students will recognise that our response to crisis can lead to something better or worse.

Teacher content information: This Changes Everything explores the complex relationship between humans and our environment, and in particular how our economic system’s push for continual growth impacts both the environment and quality of life for all people. Both the book and the film present powerful portraits of communities on the front line of both fossil fuel extraction and the climate crisis it is driving, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

This Change Everything is a vehicle to discuss the climate crisis as an opportunity; an opportunity for a new economic model that accounts for both people and the

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "In crises the most daring course is often safest" - Henry Kissinger

Part A.

Read the following excerpt from the book This Changes Everything, then respond to the questions below.

Excerpt from This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein:

"In 2007, a super tornado ripped through the [rural town of Greensburg, Kansas], turning about 95 percent of the town into rubble. As a result of an extraordinary, community-led process that began just days after the disaster, with neighbors holding meetings in tents amid the wreckage of their former lives, Greensburg today stands as a model 'green town', often described as the greenest in America. The hospital, city hall, and school have all been built to the highest certification level issued by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). And the town has become a destination for hundreds of policy makers, anxious to learn more about its low-energy lighting and its cutting-edge green architecture and waste reduction, as well

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