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)

> Asking questions

1. The Guardian of the Forest

What you need:


To begin to explore the concept of sustainable development

To start thinking about the many and important ways wood impacts on our lives

What to do

This activity works best if pupils can be sat in a circle or away from desks. The best option would be to take the pupil's outside and read the story under a tree.

Ask pupils if they have visited a forest? What was the purpose? (walk / activity, etc.) Why do other people visit forests? Do they know any food that grows in the forest? Are there any other products that forests provide?

Read the story to the pupils. When you have finished hold a discussion on the concept of fairness and sustainability using the teacher prompts below.

In pairs ask half the class to think about what questions they would like to ask the tree and the other half to think about what questions they would like to ask the boy. Give each pair 2 post-its and ask them to write 1 question on each.

Gather the questions from the pupils' and group them by theme. As a group, select 1 question for the tree and 1 question for the boy. As a group, discuss the question and the different responses the boy and the tree might give.

Hold a plenary discussion using some of the reflection points below.

An alternative story to use is the Lorax by Dr Seuss which chronicles the plight of the Lorax who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler. At the end the Lorax is given the last truffula tree seed by the Once-ler and the story ends positively with the hope that the forest will renew itself.

Teacher prompts

Reflection and evaluation

Ask pupils to look around the room at all the things they 'use.' Where do these things come from? Do we use them up or are they renewable? Are they from this country? In the story which things that the boy used were renewable and which were not? Explain that this story is an example of one wood but it can illustrate what is happening to many of our forests across the world.

Encourage the pupils to think back to the Web of Life activity in section 1. What roles can humans play in this web? Do they have a positive role in the web? Are there different roles they can play? In terms of this story, what role are people playing in the web? What are the consequences of this locally / globally?

Homework ideas

Pupils can research and share stories or fairy tales which are set in forests or are about trees.

Visit www.treeaid.org for further ideas around writing tree fables – 'Tales from beneath the Baobab'


A good follow up activity to this is What is sustainable development? which explores sustainable development in more detail and is suitable for more able pupils.