KS2 teacher resources on sustainability and climate change 

Written by Ollie Wilkinson

In the classroom, children are taught the many wonders of our world, from its magnificent wildlife to its remarkable landscapes and rich history. But now, the growing threat of climate change is opening their eyes to the dangers it faces in the not-so-distant future. 

The child who falls in love with polar bears soon discovers they are endangered, and may not be around when he grows up. The eager pupil who one day wants to visit the Amazon rainforest learns how it’s being destroyed piece by piece, tree by tree, day by day.  

And at the centre of it all are the teachers who inspire, motivate, and educate the minds of the future. The educators who get up every day to light those sparks and guide children on the path to achieving amazing things. 

Not to get all Whitney on you, but we really do believe children are our future. And our KS2 resources provide you with the tools to teach them well and let them lead the way! 

The challenge 

Thinking about the future can be daunting, but teachers can ensure children’s fears remain where they belong: with the boogeymen, moving up to secondary school, whirlpools in the bathtub, and quicksand in the sandpit.  

These are frights we can easily appease; terrors that will dwindle in time from immense to irrational. But we can’t simply open the cupboard and show climate change is a monster living in their imagination, or turn on the light to reveal it’s just an eerie shadow.  

Kids watch their heroes save the world every time they go to the cinema or switch on Disney+. And teachers can show them they don’t have to rip their pants and Hulk up to become a green superhero.  

With your skills and enthusiasm, you can inspire them to save the planet from the playground, the classroom, and their homes.  

Check out our KS2 teaching pack to get your pupils as excited about combating global warming as that time a dog escaped into the playground, or when you said this week’s homework was a “piece of cake”, forgetting you hadn’t taught them metaphors yet. 

The facts 

To meet the Paris Agreement targets of limiting global temperature rise, children must emit eight times less CO2 than their grandparents (Carbon Brief). That’s one helluva challenge, and kids are feeling the weight of the pressure. 

According to studies, children “experience an additional layer of confusion, betrayal, and abandonment because of adult inaction towards climate change”, with six in ten young people very worried about its impact and three-quarters frightened of the future. 

However, the good news is, the youth of today (excuse the Grandad phrase) are determined to make a difference. The 1.6 million children who took part in Greta Thunberg’s climate change school strikes are a prime example of this. There’s a huge opportunity to inspire kids inside the classroom, too.  

Lessons on sustainability are as indelible as that line left by the Sharpie you accidentally used on the whiteboard four years ago.  

Teaching kids about climate change is a lesson they’ll never forget, up there with the time you taught little Jessica that glue doesn’t make sandwiches last longer, or Mikey that kissing the fire alarm doesn’t prevent fires and pritt-sticking your shoes doesn’t make you spiderman. Or when you demonstrated how biting isn’t the way to resolve an argument, even if that lesson took place in the staffroom when Mr Reynolds pinched the last biccy. Nobody gets in between Miss Jacobs and her bourbons. 

Spotting the signs of eco-anxiety 

Eco-anxiety defines the feelings of unease and fear around the threats to our planet, environment and climate. Unlike many childhood concerns, eco-anxiety is not a fear of the unknown, but a fear of something children see, hear and read about every day. 

Climate change is present everywhere you look, and is an important part of the school curriculum. It’s not an urban legend you scare kids with, like the well-travelled myth of the boy who leant back on his chair too far, or the girl who drank five gallons of Ribena and turned purple. 

Symptoms of eco-anxiety among children can include: 

  • Insomnia 
  • Stomach aches 
  • Headaches 
  • Bad moods 
  • Anger 
  • Distress and panic 
  • Helplessness 
  • Obsessive thinking 

Want to learn more about children’s concerns about climate change? Check out our eco-anxiety guide

Handling eco-anxiety in the classroom 

Global warming isn’t a topic that should be ignored or hidden away like a discarded bogey on the underside of a desk. And children need to know that the symptoms of eco-anxiety are an embodiment of the love, care and passion they have for our planet. 

Their concerns are warranted, and telling them there’s nothing to worry about could increase their anxiety, given one of the key underlying causes of stress is a sense of helplessness. 

Educators fuel children’s curiosity and passions, which for many kids, includes the natural world. Therefore, ignoring the climate crisis is starving us of our future green leaders and drivers of positive change.  

A lesson plan about the environment that turns a blind eye to global warming will have more gaps in it than the moth-eaten shorts festering in lost and found. Knowledge is power, and educators have the opportunity to increase optimism and hope among the younger generation. 

Our KS2 teacher pack 

Teachers are among the most important, influential people in our community, and they do an amazing job of shaping the leaders of tomorrow. We want to help them continue their wonderful work. 

Educating your KS2 students on climate change may result in some difficult questions. But this is where your many years of answering queries such as, “Where do babies come from?” and “Why do those cakes in the urinal taste so weird?” really come into their own. 

Our sustainability-focused KS2 resources make teaching as easy as wheeling in the massive TV, and as exciting as turkey dinosaur day in the school canteen, or running underneath the rainbow-coloured parachute in PE. 

Our Teacher Pack reduces eco-anxiety and creates a positive environmental outlook at school. By the time you’re done with it, every pupil on your classroom’s carpet will be eager to save the planet. Even the ones who still wipe their noses on the curtains, store woodlice in their socks, and claim their favourite colour is seven. 

Delivered in bite-sized steps and digestible chunks, our KS2 Teacher Pack is more robust than a shatter-proof ruler, and includes all of the following… 

Inset day plan 

Our inset day plan focuses on giving teachers the tools to ease their pupil’s planetary fears and empower them to take positive action in their community. It covers: 

  • Framing the problem    
  • School sustainability Pledge    
  • How to discuss the issue with children to reduce eco-anxiety     
  • Creating change in the classroom    
  • How to build a sustainable community     

Lesson plan 

Sharpen pencils and minds, erase eco-anxiety, and tipp-ex waste with the help of our extensive sustainability lesson plans. These fun session link to the topic of climate change, waste reduction and plastic pollution. 

Get involved in our competition 

We need little eco warriors far and wide to help us design the front of our fancy new milk bottles!  

From design templates to educational mazes and oceanic colouring-in pages, inspire the next generation of mean, green machines by downloading our Competition Starter Pack! 

You can upload up to five entries at a time for your pupils (with parents’ permission), or let your kids upload them at home with their parents. Either way, they can take their drawings home and pin them proudly to the fridge.

Download your Teacher Pack 

Calling all teachers great and small! Download your KS2 Sustainability Teacher Pack to make full use of all of the above educational resources! 

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