Key Stage 4 Communities & Identity

Years 10 And 11 Consumers and the Environment

Return to Key Stage 4 Framework

Lesson Plan

Learning ObjectivesPossible Teaching ActivityLearning Outcomes

Pupils should have a basic understanding of:

  • the problems currently facing our environment
  • ways of saving energy and water
  • how rubbish can be reduced and recycled
  • problems caused by animal welfare and cruelty to animals

Begin the lesson by talking about the environment. Ask the students about the types of problems currently facing our environment.

Talk to the students about water and energy. Discuss the different ways in which they can save water and energy. Look at the different labelling systems that exist to help consumers understand the impact items can have on the environment.

Talk to the students about waste and rubbish. Talk to them about the ways in which waste can be reduced and look at the different ways that 'smart shopping' can help the environment.

Talk to the groups about animal welfare. Discuss the problems that exist with cruelty to animals and the ways in which they can help care for animals themselves.

  • Students will be able to recognise there are many different problems currently facing our environment and will learn about the positive effects of saving water and energy.
  • Students will understand the importance of smart shopping to reduce and recycle rubbish and will understand different aspects of animal welfare.

Teachers Notes

What problems exist in my environment?

Background Notes

In recent years there has been a significant rise in people's concern for the environment. For all of us, a safe environment is essential to our quality of life - the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land on which we live and work.

The problems that exist are far-reaching, and effective protection of the environment requires activity on many wide-ranging fronts. We need to act to limit global environmental threats (such as global warming) as well as ensuring we safeguard individuals from the effects of poor air quality or toxic chemicals.

Further information relating to environmental issues is available on the Sustainable Development Commission website (

The Directgov website contains further resources on environmental issues and greener living.(

Suggested Teaching Activity

School Project

Eco Schools ( is a type of environmental management system for schools. It is a programme for promoting environmental awareness in a way that links to many curriculum subjects, including citizenship, personal, social and health education (PSHE) and education for sustainable development. It is also an award scheme that will raise the profile of your school in the wider community

Information and Materials

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website ( has information and materials suitable for students aged 12-16 on the subject of climate change (

Back to top


How can I help to save energy and water?

Background Notes

1) Energy - gas and electricity - used in the home is responsible for 25% of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that is produced when gas is burned or electricity is generated. It is a major contributor to global warming (climate change). Improved energy efficiency, therefore, helps to improve the quality of housing, helping to bring warmer, healthier homes to old and vulnerable people living in fuel poverty.

Everyone can play a role in helping to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. An easy example is that when shopping consumers can choose to buy appliances that are the most energy efficient.

Also we can work to ensure that our homes are not wasting energy, as this can contribute unnecessarily to climate change. We need to make sure that we are not using more energy (and generating more damaging gases) than is really necessary.

By being energy efficient we can reduce the need for power stations and cut the damage inflicted. One quarter of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions every year originates from the energy we use to heat and light our homes, and to run an increasing number of household appliances.

2) Water is essential for natural life and for human use. We all use it everyday in our homes and gardens, in commerce and industry, and in agriculture. The way in which water is used has a direct impact on the natural environment and it is important for us to realize that water needs to be managed in order to protect the long term future of the environment.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Resources and Activities

The Energy Chest website ( includes basic information on energy and its use, curriculum activities, notes for teachers and a library of links to other energy and environmental sites.

The Bigger Picture ( website contains a wealth of information and activities to help consumers to become more aware of how to protect the environment.

Quiz and Questionnaires

Test what your students know about energy and saving energy. The Go Wild website ( has a quiz/questionnaire as well information about where and how energy is used in schools, presented in a classroom-friendly way.

Back to top


What effect does rubbish have on the environment?

Background Notes

We are now throwing away more rubbish than ever before and are running out of places to put it. Most of our rubbish is buried in the ground, in 'landfill' sites, but these are filling up fast and new ones are hard to find. Costs for disposal are increasing and at current rates of filling, the amount of space we have available could run out within 10 years.

We all need to try and reduce the amount of rubbish created and this will require a change not only in how we deal with waste, but also in how much waste we produce at home and at work.

There are several ways in which we can help to reduce waste including Recycling, Reducing waste and Composting

BUT one way in which we can all help is by:


All consumers can try to be smart shoppers, in order to try and help cut down on the amount of rubbish we create in the first place. It's not difficult, it doesn't take any extra time and it can make a very big difference.

Re-use carrier bags

Each plastic carrier bag you throw away will take around 500 years to rot away in a landfill site. If you re-use your carrier bags each time you visit a shop or supermarket it will dramatically cut the number of bags that have to be buried in the ground.

Remember to take bags with you when you do the weekly shop.

If you are visiting more than one shop, do you need to take a new bag from each?

Strong re-usable bags are also on sale in most supermarkets.

Choose less packaging

Buy Recycled

If you buy products made from recycled materials or that come in recycled packaging, you will encourage manufacturers to demand more recycled materials to make them from. This will help reduce the amount of rubbish buried in landfill sites.

Lots of what you buy, such as toilet rolls, kitchen towels, tissues, writing paper, bin liners, pens, rulers and plant pots are available made from recycled materials.

Packaging such as drinks and food cans, glass bottles and cardboard boxes are made from recycled materials.

Simply look for the recycling loop or the Buy Recycled logo on the back of products to find out whether they have been made from recycled materials.

The Recycle Now website ( contains tips on recycling at home and other information.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Resources and Activities

The Energy Chest website ( includes basic information on reducing waste, curriculum activities, notes for teachers and a library of links to other energy and environmental sites.

School Project

Why not run the Bring, Bring project ( at your school? This project is being run from Oxfam and is designed to make pupils think about how recycling (in this case mobile phones) can help people and the environment.

The Oxfam Education website ( also contains other useful resources for children.


Back to top


What problems exist with animal welfare?

Background Information

Animals are an important part of our world. They need to be looked after and cared for as they play a large role in our environment.

We all have a part to play in trying to ensure that non-human animals can live according to their own natures, free from harm, abuse, and exploitation.

Animal disease on farms causes a lot of suffering. It can ruin individual farmers as well as threaten local communities, affect national economies and inflict problems internationally.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Video and Speaker

The Compassion in World Farming Trust has developed a video and teaching pack designed to stimulate discussion about farm animal welfare and genetic engineering with KS4 pupils. The Trust also offers a Farm Animal Welfare Schools Speaker Service and further details can be found on the CIWF website (

Information and Resources

The RSPCA aims to promote kindness and prevent cruelty to animals. The Society's education service plays a leading role by providing and supporting animal welfare education for students and teachers across the Country. Further information can be found on the RSPCA website (

The Dogs' Trust ( have developed FREE curriculum-based resources on their Teachers' pages.

Teaching Packs

The Humane Education Teachers' Pack has been developed by PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Education and Research Foundation. This FREE pack has been designed to fit into the KS 3&4 Citizenship framework and covers issues relating to the use and misuse of animals in today's society. PETA also produces a teachers' resource pack that is suitable for use in GCSE English classes. If you would like to order one of these packs 'free of charge', e-mail:

Back to top