2.2 Improve your teaching practices: Climate change and environmental and social responsibility

In Unit 2, Environmental and social responsibility, we will present examples of how you can link climate change with local environmental issues, environmental responsibilities and even community outreach projects. There are some examples of activities, but please remember to keep the curriculum-activated ESD process for engaging with climate change in your Life Orientation classroom in mind when engaging with these course materials. It is useful to focus on developing your solution-orientated teaching practices (Hoffman, 2021).

The activities are primary activities that engage learners and focus mostly on critical thinking and developing the competencies for learners to start asking questions and thinking for themselves. Learners need to engage with the subject knowledge and start-up stories and make sense of the topic through an active learning process by tuning in, finding out, working out and taking action.

When designing learning activities linked to the core knowledge above, it is essential to keep asking the following:

  • Do the learning methods and activities being planned help learners to think about and evaluate the assumptions about climate change, society and knowledge?
  • Do the methods and activities open up spaces for deeper deliberative learning processes?
  • What knowledge and skills are learners being exposed to during these activities?

To download this activity, click here:


Climate change caused by excess greenhouse gases and a big carbon footprint can cause:

  • Heat waves that damage crops, stress livestock, and make life difficult for people.
  • More air pollution, which is linked to allergies, asthma and other health problems.
  • Severe storms and glooding due to higher sea levels.
  • Loss of habitat as the climate changes, particularly in Arctic region.

Teaching practice:

Learners are investigating their own impact and thus realising that they have a responsibility towards the environment and also climate change impact.


Step 1: Print out the activity for your learners, or let them draw their own footprint .
Step 2: Give the learners time to complete the survey and colour-in the carbon footprint.
Step 3: Ask the learners or students to discuss their carbon footprint impact.

Assessment Activity: Let learners answer these questions informally.

  • What is meant by “your carbon footprint”?
  • What is your carbon footprint?
  • What do you think does this mean?
  • How can you decrease your carbon footprint?
  • What can the school do to decrease our carbon footprint?

Do you think that climate change is a responsibility of each of us and our community? Why do you say that?

Activity 2: Environmental Responsibility

Objective: This activity encourages students to think about environmental responsibility from the perspective of individuals, communities, industries, and governments and how everyone has a role in protecting the environment. Students will work together, in small groups, to brainstorm examples of environmental responsibility for their assigned level of responsibility. Students will learn that everyone, from individuals to government, must take responsibility to protect the environment.

CAPS Alignment: Is an introductory activity to the Topic Social and Environmental Responsibility.


Step 1:Divide students into four groups. Assign each group a different level of environmental responsibility (individual, community, industry, and government). Provide the students with examples of individuals, communities, industries, and governments to facilitate role playing.
Step 2: Ask students to brainstorm with their group members and discuss examples of environmental responsibilities that are applicable to their assigned level. Provide the class with 10 minutes for a group discussion, allowing enough time to discuss examples from all four levels of environmental responsibility.
Explain to the students that they should include waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, carbon emission reduction, and other applicable le environmental considerations.
Step 3: After the groups have discussed their ideas , ask each group to share their ideas with the rest of the class. Lead a class discussion for each specific level of responsibility, inviting the remaining groups to get involved with the discussion and share their ideas.

In this classroom-based exercise, provide each learner with a set of pictures taken from magazines and a piece of cardboard. Ask the learners to divide their sheet of cardboard into two halves. Entitle the first half ‘How I see the world today affected by climate change. Learners need to arrange pictures and draw if necessary to illustrate what their world looks like today. Entitle the other half ‘The world I want to see in 2030 though adaption and mitigation’. This also needs to be illustrated. 

On the back of the cardboard, learners should draw two columns headed ‘Problems preventing us from reaching our desired future’ and ‘Positive things we can do to reach our desired future’. They should then list ideas and suggestions in the two columns. This future scenarios exercise is popular with learners and can produce exciting outcomes. You could get the class to present their ideas to the school at an assembly and exhibit their posters on the school walls. Learners should explain both their posters and future visions. 


Evaluate arguments and express and support a point of view.  In addition, you could require that the learners write a brief essay about ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Click here to access a whole booklet of suggested class and community activities related to creating climate change and environmental awareness.