Teacher's notes


How to use this resource...

Our Forest, Our Future helps teachers and pupils to explore the interdependence of people and forests and the vital role forests play in sustaining our environment – in the past, the present and hopefully the future.

The Scots Pine forests in Scotland and the Congo Basin rainforest in Africa provide case studies through which pupils will begin to understand why our forests are under threat and the implications for our planet. Further information about these forests is provided in the following documents.

In making connections between consumerism, people and the environment, pupils will be encouraged to see how they and their actions have an impact on the lives of others globally. It encourages reflection on the possible futures of the world's forests and ways of taking positive actions for a future where people and forests co-exist in a sustainable way.

The resource is structured around a global citizenship framework devised by Oxfam.

Learning framework

More detail on the framework can be found in Global Learning Framework [pdf]

The reflection and evaluation sections in each activity support formative assessment and ongoing monitoring of pupils learning.

Additional assessment opportunities are indicated by... Assessment

Outdoor learning opportunities are indicated by... Outddor learning

Homework activities are indicated by... Homework

Active global citizens


Taking Action for Change

Education for Global Citizenship is committed to enabling pupils to bring about positive actions for change either locally or globally. This process should support pupils to make their own informed choices through a critical evaluation of the options open to them and the possible implications of those choices.

Throughout the resource there are ideas for possible actions, such as reflecting on our power as consumers, peer education and tree planting. Your pupils themselves should be encouraged to think creatively about the many actions they could take, critically evaluate the impact these actions might have and then evaluate what they have done.

The materials below support your pupils through this process.

Which action? [pdf]

How did it go? [pdf]

Our forest our future

Section 1

What is a forest?

1. What are forests like?

2. How are you connected to the forest?

3. Where are the world's rainforests?

4. Exploring the Scots Pine forest and the Congo Basin rainforest

5. Animals and plants in a Scots pine forest

6. The web of life in a Scots pine forest

7. Animals and plants in the Congo Basin rainforest

8. Comparing the Scots pine forest and the Congo Basin rainforest

9. Of forests and Men

10. What is your opinion about the world's forests?

Section 2

How do we use forests?

1. The Guardian of the forest

2. What is 'Sustainable development'?

3. How do we use the world's forests?

4. Scottish forests in the past

5. A history of two forests

6. Needs and Wants

7. Forest clearance past and present part 1

8. Forest clearance past and present part 2

9. Congo Basin rainforest: exploring the reasons for forest clearance

10. Baka community lifestyle

11. Whose forest?

12. Wood survey

13. Where does our wood come from?

Section 3

What is happening to our forests?

1. Why are our forests being cleared?

2. Exploring issues: an enquiry approach?

3. Consumer power

4. A world without rainforests

5. Roads into the forest

6. How can I make the world a better place?

7. How do they feel?

Section 4

Forests of the future

1. Probable and preferable futures

2. Forests of the future

3. Future generations: what are their rights?

4. Trees mean life and other stories of tree regeneration

5. Movements for change: activists' stories

6. What is the best way to protect the environment? (RISC)

> Making connections

6. The Web of Life in a Scots Pine forest

What you need:


To find out about the ecosystem in a Scots Pine forest

To illustrate food webs in the forest and the interdependence between plants, animals and the sun

To reflect on how changes to habitat can disturb the whole ecosystem

What to do

Stick the labels (sun, grass, sheep and person) to the back of four pupils and ask them to put themselves in the correct order – without talking – to indicate who gets energy (food) from whom. Once they are in the correct order ask them to guess what their label says. Discuss with the pupils that this is an example of a food chain. Can they think of others? Give each pupil a card from the Scotland role card set and a handful of lengths of string. Explain to the class that they are going to link up to the animal or plant which gives them energy.

Ask the pupil representing the sun to stand in the centre. The other pupils now ask the sun or the species which they get energy from for a piece of string. For example, the Scots Pine tree will ask the sun for string, the fungi and bacteria will ask all the animals and plants for string.

Discuss with the pupils that they have created a web of life. What do they notice about it? How are they linked? What is the ultimate source of energy?

Now ask the pupils to imagine that some of the forest is being cleared for a housing development. A bulldozer knocks down some of the trees. Pupils who are trees should sit down. Any species sharing a length of string with the felled tree should also sit down. Discuss with the pupils how they feel about what happened. At the end of the activity hold a plenary discussion using the questions below.

Teacher prompts

Reflection and evaluation

Forests support their own ecosystems and 'webs of life'. If one element is removed from the web it can have an impact on other organisms in the web.

Green plants are the only things that can make their own food. They make food from water and carbon using sunlight, a process called photosynthesis. Animals rely on the food made by plants by feeding directly on them or on other animals that do. Photosynthesis also produces oxygen which all living things need.

Human activity can impact on these webs of life in both negative and positive ways. Sometimes it is difficult to balance the different needs of people and forests. Lots of activities in this resource go on to explore this relationship.

Homework activity

Can pupils trace the contents of their lunch box / breakfast / evening meal back to a living plant and ultimately the sun?