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The purpose of this lesson is to support young people to be able to respond confidently to the climate emergency and in a way that makes sense to them. We share our thinking about the ways in which everyone can choose to respond to the current situation – whether they see themselves as Doers, Shoppers, Learners, Shouters or all of the above.

Outcomes and Curriculum links

This lesson enables students to:

  • discuss ways in which they can respond confidently to the climate emergency

  • describe ways in which we can join together to demand that governments act decisively and quickly to avoid the most serious effects of climate change. 

This lesson links to themes from the following subject areas:

KS2 Science - recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

KS2 Citizenship

Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities:

  • 1 a. to talk about their opinions, and explain their views, on issues that affect themselves and society; b. to recognise their worth as individuals by identifying positive things about themselves and their achievements, c. to face new challenges positively by collecting information, making responsible choices, and taking action.

Preparing to play an active role as citizens

  • 2 a. to research, discuss and debate topical issues, problems and events, b. how to take part in making and changing rules, d. that there are different kinds of responsibilities, f. to resolve differences by looking at alternatives, making decisions and explaining choices, g. what democracy is, h. to recognise the role of voluntary, community and pressure groups, j. that resources can be allocated in different ways and that these economic choices affect individuals, communities and the sustainability of the environment.

KS3 Geography - the use of natural resources and how the climate has changed.

KS3 Science - the production of carbon dioxide by human activity and the impact on climate. How organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment.

GCSE Geography - 16. Changing weather and climate – The causes, consequences of and responses to extreme weather conditions and natural weather hazards, recognising their changing distribution in time and space. The spatial and temporal characteristics, of climatic change and evidence for different causes, including human activity.

AQA GCSE Geography - The evidence and reasons for human induced climate change. The effects of climate change on people and environment. Managing climate change: Mitigation and Adaptation

GCSE Science - Positive and negative human interactions with ecosystems, anthropogenic causes of climate change, potential effects of, and mitigation of, increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate, renewable and non-renewable energy sources used on Earth, changes in how these are used.

AQA GCSE Combined Science Global warming, Human activities which contribute to an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, Global climate change (effects), 6.1.3 National and global energy resources.

KS3 and KS4 Citizenship - The rights, roles and responsibilities of citizens, the role of parliament and democracy, the role of citizens and parliament in holding those in the power of government to account, actions citizens can take in democratic and electoral processes to influence decisions locally, nationally and beyond, the roles played by public institutions and voluntary groups in society, the ways in which citizens work together to improve their communities


To set up the lesson you will need:

  • lesson plan

  • PowerPoint presentation. You might want to edit slides 5 and 10 to match the colours of the wool/ribbons/stickers below

  • Internet link and audio (ideally, but not essential)

  • Post-its and pens

  • 4 different coloured wool/ ribbons / stickers (twice as many as you have people in the audience/class)

  • Card sort - Doers, Shoppers, Learners, Shouters

Lesson plan

Getting started: (0-15 minutes) Climate Strikes – Who? Where? Why?

Begin by sharing the learning outcomes via the PowerPoint (slide 1)

Today is 20 September 2019. Can anyone tell me what is significant about today?
Collect feedback from the group – It’s the day of the largest Global Climate Strike in history. (Slide 2)

On the board write the words: Who is striking? Where are they striking? Why are they striking?

Ask groups of students to record their ideas on a post-it and stick it under each heading. Go through their ideas and add a little more detail where required.


Anyone/everyone – students, workers, children, adults, community groups............The Climate strikes were started by school students organised through the #FridaysForFuture platform. This Global Climate Strike mobilisation is a joint response by a broad coalition of groups, NGOs, unions and social movements across the world to young people’s call to action for September. School strikers want everyone to be involved!


Climate Strikes are happening all around the world. Refer to the map on this webpage and zoom in on the UK.


To show world leaders the level of concern and urgency that people have about climate change and to demand change and action as regards the climate emergency, for example a move away from fossil fuels to renewables energies (that’s just the tip of the iceberg). Past generations have failed to act effectively and if we are to keep global temperature rises this century below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (as recommended by climate scientists in order to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change) we need to act decisively and quickly.

The Strike on 20th September takes place just 3 days before the UN emergency climate summit on 23rd September. Therefore, the 20th September represents a real chance to deliver a clear message for climate justice. September’s climate strikes will kick-start a huge wave of action and renewed ambition all over the world. (Slide 3)

*With some students you may need to review why the climate is changing. This would include an explanation of the greenhouse effect and how an increase in Green House Gas emissions (mainly Carbon dioxide and methane), due to human activity are enhancing this warming effect resulting in a changing climate. This can be done using a quick diagram on the board.

Use the PowerPoint slides to summarise the key climate facts (slide 4)

Main activity (15-45 minutes) Doers, Shoppers, Learners, Shouters

It’s all a bit scary and overwhelming when we start thinking about the scale of the challenge and the likely impacts of climate change. It’s tricky to know how to help.

The Eden Project has been giving it some thought and have got an idea to share with you. They/we like to call it ‘Doers, Shoppers, Learners, Shouters’ and it gives us a way to see how individuals can be part of the solution and how we can help in different ways. (Slide 5)

Introduce the idea of each type of action and share an example or 2 using the PowerPoint slides.


Hands-on / physical things you can actually do to help (slide 6)



Making choices when you by stuff (slide 7)


  • The rise of zero waste shops 
  • A growing sense of urgency around climate change, along with a range of new, competitive renewable energy providers, means we are likely to see more households switching to green energy in 2019. One such supplier, Bulb, has been named as the UK’s fastest-growing private company. Read more about the ethical and sustainable trends of 2019.
  • According to the Vegan Society 1 in 3 Brits have stopped or reduced their meat consumption and more than half of UK adults are adopting vegan buying behaviour. 
  • Highlight the Giki app! A mobile app that informs you about the products you buy and the companies you buy them from. Giki rates products not on price, but on whether a product fits with what matters to you. Whatever your priorities, Giki will help you understand the true impacts of products on you and those around, to help you to buy from brands which share your beliefs. 


Seeking new knowledge, staying informed (slide 8)


  • Eden Project’s ‘Earth Story’ summer programme had over 200,000 visitors. This programme highlighted the beauty of the natural world and what we can all do to help fight climate change and biodiversity loss. 
  • Extinction Rebellion activists have hailed their protests in London as a “huge success” after data suggested they caused a five-fold increase in online searches for climate change.


Sharing what you care about (slide 9)


  • Greta Thunberg along with other youth activists, wrote a letter asking adults from all sectors of society to join them to amplify the message to world leaders.

Ask the students - Which sort of person do you think you are (mainly)? (slide 10) You might feel like you are all of them. Each of the 4 actions have a different colour ribbon associated with them. Ask the students to pick just one colour that they think matches with how they feel and gently tie it to their wrist.

Hold up your arm and find another person (or 2) in the room that has the same colour as you. Have a conversation and decide on one thing you could do in terms of that theme to make a difference. Collect a little bit of feedback from several pairs.

Ask them to group together with everyone in the room that has the same colour. Try to record 5 ideas on a piece of paper.

Help them delve slightly deeper: Giving each group a set of cards with a host of ideas about ways to make a difference (the cards includes Doers, Shoppers, Learners, Shouters)

Ask them to pick out the cards that fit into their theme. Which action do they think is most powerful / effective? Ask them to put them in order from most to least effective. Collect feedback.

Lastly, ask them to look at the cards they have discarded and divide them up into the other 3 types of action.

Sum up the activity: As you can see there are lots of ways in which people can be part of the solution. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, some people might feel happy to strike on the street and others might be much happy writing to their MP, for example. So, we encourage you to respond confidently in a way that makes sense to you – but also remember it’s good to push yourself a bit beyond your comfort zone as well.

Finally: (45–60 minutes) Can an individual really have an impact?

Pose the question: If I eat less meat, ride my bike, buy less stuff – how much of a difference does that actually make? (slide 11) Collect feedback from the group. Share the research quoted on the BBC webpage via the PowerPoint. (slide 12) It’s both individual actions that matter, and the fact that each individual taking action triggers others to get involved.

Parting thought: Share a funny example of how you can have an impact by starting something or following something you believe in. (slide 13)

Review the learning outcomes with the group.

Tell us what you got up to

Eden Project would be keen to know about ways in which you decide to take action. Please share via twitter @edenschoolsteam #makethechange

Find out how one school in Newquay got on with the lesson plan when we delivered it in their school on 20 September 2019, a day of global climate action. 

Sustainable school poster

Visit the downloads section at the top of this page to print a copy of our beautifully drawn poster, designed to get your  pupils thinking about all the ways your school can work towards becoming more sustainable.