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

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

What you need:


To explore the different ways people use forests

To consider the range of resources forests provide locally and globally

What to do

Explain that they are going to think about how different people use the Congo Basin rainforests and then we are going to investigate how we use the forests and woodlands in Scotland.

Give each group a set of cards and ask them to sort them into three groups.

Ask pupils to share what they have decided and why. Talk about any differences of opinion and come to class consensus on a final decision. Put the cards up on a poster under the 3 headings.

Tell pupils that they are going to find out how we use the forests and woodlands in Scotland.

Brainstorm their initial thoughts under the following headings, making sure that everyone understands the terms.


Leisure & Recreation

Food & shelter

Now give groups time to research in class or as a homework task. Ask groups to share their responses and design a class poster illustrating how we use forests in Scotland. Display the posters around the class and encourage the class to look at the designs and share ideas.

Hold a plenary discussion to explore what they have found out about the uses of the two forests using the teacher prompts below. Were you aware of the number and different ways we use the forest in Scotland? Were there any new ways you found out? Discuss the similarities and differences in how the local people use the rainforest for their own purposes and how we use the woodlands and forests in Scotland. Try to elicit from pupils how the local rainforest people use the forest far more directly for subsistence and their daily needs (food, shelter, fuel, medicines, etc.) than we do.

Teacher prompts

Think about how we use woods and forests in Scotland for enjoyment, sport and recreation.

NB These ideas will be explored further in the activities - Forest clearance past and present and Congo Basin rainforest: exploring the reasons for forest clearance.

Reflection and evaluation

Ask pupils to summarise the similarities and differences they have found out about the uses of the forests. They can return to the activity from Section 1 Comparing the Scots pine forest and the Congo Basin rainforest and add thoughts around uses of the forest.

Pupils should also reflect on how they now feel about the importance of forests and if their view has changed.