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. Future generations: what are their rights?

What you need:


To question our thinking about 'development' and whether it can be sustainable or not

To understand that 'development' means different things to different people

To think critically and creatively about meeting the needs of future generations

What to do

This activity links to the activities Needs and Wants and What is sustainable development?

Pre task. For homework pupils need to discuss with a neighbour or relative the questions on the homework sheet and note down their thoughts.

In groups, ask pupils to discuss what they learned from their parents or neighbours about the developments or changes which have taken place in their community over the last ten years. Feedback key thoughts to class.

Shuffle the 'What is development?' statement cards and hand them out so that pupils have one each. Give everyone a couple of minutes to read their card. Explain that everyone has to start moving around the room when the music starts. When the music stops, pupils have to turn to the person standing nearest to them and discuss which of the 2 statements are more likely to represent 'sustainable development'. It doesn't matter if they pair up with a pupil with the same card as they may have a different perspective.

After a couple of minutes, the music should begin again. The pair swap cards and move off with their new card. The teacher should stop the music three or four times in total. Each time the pupils debate what's on their new card.

Then ask all pupils to stand in a large circle with the two sheets marked 'sustainable development' and 'unsustainable development' in the middle. Now explain to pupils they are to decide if they agree or disagree with their statement, but all in silence. The first pupil sticks their card onto the appropriate sheet. The following pupils do likewise but can also move one other statement to the opposite sheet. Nobody comments during this stage.

Now ask if the pupils are happy with the placement of the cards. Why? How did the pupils feel when their card was moved?

In groups pupils should now brainstorm any further ideas they have about sustainable development and write them on to post-its (perhaps ideas about peace, prosperity, how we look after the elderly, disabled, or refugees, or paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable childcare etc).

Next ask each group to pick one idea from either the cards or their post-its and discuss potential 'benefits' and 'problems' associated with this. Is it easy to decide? Does this align with previous thinking on 'sustainable' and 'unsustainable' development'?

Teacher Prompts

Reflection and evaluation

'Development' can mean anything to anybody! The mining company who want to build quarry operations in the rainforest and the protestors who oppose may both say that they are supporting development.

Review the statement below and discuss.

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without limiting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.