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. Needs and Wants

What you need:


To find out the difference between needs and wants in a forest setting

To make the connections between needs, wants and rights

To understand that all people have the same fundamental needs and should have the same rights

What to do

Ask the pupils to imagine that the forest will be their home, or take the pupil's outside to a wooded area and run the activity there. Tell them will need to find everything they need to survive in the forest. However, the soil in this area is poor and we're not sure about the water quality.

Each group is given an envelope containing the cards. There are 3 blank cards and they can decide, as a group, what else they would need to survive in the forest and can draw / write them onto the blank cards. Explain that the government respects and supports their forest community and they can select 15 cards that they think are the most important to support their group's wellbeing.

Once pupils have made their selection, explain that the government is struggling to provide the support your community needs as they need to spend money in the cities on building new hospitals and schools. They must now take away 7 more cards.

Once pupils have made their selection explain that there has been a change in government and they believe the forest people should move to designated areas in the forest and use existing resources. Therefore they are reducing their support for your community. Pupils must take away 4 more cards.

Have a class discussion using the teacher prompts. Encourage the pupils to identify the basic needs which are required for survival.

Explain that these needs are supported by 'rights'. Explain rights enshrined under the Universal Declaration of Rights by the UN and that there is also a special UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – a big list of things that people all around the world have agreed that every child should have.

Teacher prompts

Reflection and evaluation

All children have the same needs and rights wherever they live in the world. Sometimes our basic needs are met in different ways depending on where we live. A child living in the Congo Basin rainforest would still have their basic needs such as food, water and shelter and be looked after by their family and community. However, sometimes the rights of communities living in the forest are not properly respected as Governments think they do not own the land they live on. This issue is explored further in the activity Whose forest?

In section 4 the activity Future generations: what are their rights? examine how we can meet the needs of future generations.


In the book Wolf Brother Torak says, "You can find everything you need in the forest." Do the pupils agree with him? Ask them to write about if they agree with the statement and explain why / why not.

Further ideas:
Pupils can take part in a shelter building activity. For ideas see www.foresteducation.org/images/uploads/fcms123.pdf