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. Why are our forests being cleared?

What you need:


Pupils explore the different reasons forests are being cleared around the world.

Pupils investigate their own connections to forest clearance through the products they use.

What to do

Explain to the class that forests all over the world are being cleared for many reasons. Ask the class if they know any reasons why forests are being cleared? Put the ideas on the board.

Show the class the PowerPoint about forest clearance. Ask the class if they were surprised by what they saw? What do they think about it? How did it make them feel?

In pairs, pupils should make a list of all the products of forest clearance. The pupils are now going to investigate whether they can find any of these products in school or at home. Key things to look for are palm oil (found in hundreds of food products), wood (can they find out the type of wood and where it came from?), coltan (in all mobile phones and touchscreen technology), leather (a by-product from cattle) and gold (in most laptops).

Pupils can create a table showing the products that they use which are connected to forests around the world. They could also identify these places on a map and create a pictorial representation of where products come from.

Reflection and evaluation

Hold a plenary session and discuss how pupils feel about what they have found out. How does it make them feel? Is there anything thing they can do about what is happening?

Pupils might be surprised to find that they are linked to the clearance of forests in other countries. The following websites can support further exploration of trade links which illustrate our global interdependence:




Assessment: Issues Tree

Pupils can create an issues tree to demonstrate their learning. The trunk is the issue of 'forest clearance', the roots are the reasons for forest clearance, the branches are the effects of forest clearance and the leaves are possible solutions to the problems. Further work on thinking about the future of forests will be looked at in the final section. Pupils can add to their trees once they have completed that section – particularly around the solutions. Pupils also might want to think about local and global aspects of the tree.

The activity Exploring Issues: an enquiry approach provides some suggestions on ways pupils can explore an issue further. Pupils can select one of the issues raised in the Powerpoint and undertake an independent enquiry using some of the activities outlined.