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)

> Exploring viewpoints and values

5. Roads into the Forest: who benefits?

What you need:


To think about the impact of building a road through the rainforest

To explore the different viewpoints forest people might have towards 'development' in the rainforest

What to do

If pupils have done the activity Baka Community Lifestyle recap what they found out about people who live in the African rainforest. If not discuss with the pupils the ways that the forest is used to meet the needs of the people who live there, and reflect on the importance and value of the forest for them.

Ask the pupils to imagine that they are rainforest people. They live in the forest and rely on it for all their needs. Ask them to imagine that one day a Timber Company arrives in forest and wants to build a road so that they can transport logs out of the forest. What is the reaction of the forest people? In pairs they can discuss what their view (in role) of the new road is. What changes will it have on their lives? How might it improve your life? How might it make your life worse? Do you think different people in the community might see it differently?

Explain that the class are going to explore the different viewpoints of the issue. Split the class into two groups, facing each other to form a corridor or 'alley'. One group support the road development and the other half do not. . The pupils are going to create a dramatic representation of the conflicting thoughts going through the mind of the community leader ahead of the Timber Company arriving. The role of the community leader should first be played by the teacher to allow the class to get used to the technique.

Give the pupils' time with each other in their group to ensure they each have something to say to support the argument for or against the development. Encourage the pupils to think of a variety of reasons. However, for the purpose of the activity it is ok for the same reason to be repeated, as this would often happen when ruminating over a controversial issue. This means there will be a smooth transition from pupil to pupil if someone forgets what they were going to say.

When ready to begin, the teacher (in the role of community leader)should stand at one end of the alley in the middle between the two groups As she or he walks slowly down the alley, each pupil either side of him/her should voice their concern or enthusiasm for the proposed development.

Once the teacher has reached the end of the alley each pupil in the class should have had an opportunity to speak. Take a few minutes to reflect on how the activity went. How did the pupils on the pro-development side feel? How did the pupils on the anti-development side feel? Were the pupils placed in a group which conflicted with how they would feel in real life? If so, how do they feel now? This is a good opportunity to discuss how we can be persuaded by being part of a strong group. It is very important to then give the pupils the opportunity to repeat the activity from the opposing viewpoint.

Hold a plenary to discuss the positives and negatives of the issue. Did any pupils change their own viewpoint after listening to others?

Teacher Prompts

Reflection and evaluation

It is important to make sure that for some of the forest people it will be seen as a positive for example greater access to education and medicine while others will others will see it as disrupting their way of life and creating problems. It has been documented that once a road has been built in a forest it encourages forest clearance for example, farming, within a 50km radius. In the African rainforest it also encourages the commercial bush meat trade as people can access the forest more easily.

More information about road building in the rainforest can be found at www.kids.mongabay.com/elementary/505.html