Sustainable Futures is an education program that combines the latest in climate science with education in sustainability.

The Sustainable Futures program is designed to support primary and secondary teachers working with students in Years 3 to 9. Teachers who register with the program receive free access to digital teaching resources which includes a variety of ideas and activities to support the teaching of sustainability and the environment in Australian schools.

[Music plays and text appears: ‘Sustainable futures’]

[Images flash through of students doing experiments in the science centre]

[Image changes to show Carol Rance CSIRO]

Carol Rance:  CSIRO is a well respected and trusted science research organisation and has been for many, many decades in Australia.  One of our roles is to promote a sustainable future and of course children are the custodians of that future and we think it’s very important that they learn and spread the message about sustainability throughout their schools and wider communities.

[Image changes to show Elke Barczak CSIRO]

Elke Barczak:  The programme’s about sustainability education. 

[Image changes to show students doing experiments in the science centre]

[Image changes to show a teacher teaching students]

[Image changes back to students in the classroom]

The way that we achieve that is by providing resources to the teachers so that they can pick up experts in the fields of science and environmental education and they then impart that knowledge onto their students who then are leaders within their school and also their local communities.

[Image changes to show Richard Dickman Bayer]

Richard Dickman: So Bayer’s committed to educating young people about agriculture and science, based on the fact that our mission is science for a better life.

[Camera zooms out to show Richard Dickman speaking to the students]

 We believe passionately that science is the basis for delivering a better life for people around the world.

[Image changes to show students working on experiments]

 That society have a needs... a stream of young people interested in entering into science they can then tackle the big issues such as climate change, sustainability and feeding a hungry planet. 

[Image changes to show Richard Dickman Bayer in a playground]

That all starts at a young age, getting young people interested in science and it really starts here in the playgrounds, in the schools like this where we are introducing scientific concepts to young people.

[Image changes to show Peter Osman CSIRO speaking to students]

[Camera zooms in on Peter Osman]

Peter Osman: The CSIRO education programme offers children the opportunity to learn in an interesting and informative way the science behind issues around modern problems such as global warming, the need for renewable energy, the issues around feeding a hungry world and many other issues that we face.

[Image changes to show Kristy Cullen Teacher]

Kristy Cullen: So the CSIRO education programme enables the students to be interactive in the programme.

[Image changes to show students working on experiments]

It involves a number of experiments and things where the students are actually getting their hands dirty and actually doing rather than just reading or hearing so that it is embedded in the way that they think.

[Image changes to show Kristy Cullen Teacher]

So the students really love the programme.  They love the hands on part and they talk about it for days.  It also gives them practical things that they can implement at home and in the community as well as at school.

[Image changes to show a schoolgirl in front of a playground]

Girl: Well we learnt lots of things about the environment and how crops grow and their germination and how we eat like toast and where it comes from and how they grow it.  Yeah.

[Image changes to show a schoolboy in front of a playground]

Boy: One of the hardest was probably the science room ‘cause that was really fun ‘cause we tested a lot of experiments and yeah.

[Image changes to show a schoolgirl in front of a playground]

Girl: We learnt about sustainability and about the planet.

[Image changes to show a boy in front of a playground]

Boy: Highlight of the day was probably learning about carbon dioxide and the making and planting some plants, mainly corn.

[Image changes to show Elke Barczak]

Elke Barczak: Schools can become involved in the programme very simply by registering online.  They can also contact their local state project officer and become involved that way. 

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 [Music plays and text appears: ‘CSIRO Big ideas start here,’]

Sustainable Futures Education Program

Goals of Sustainable Futures

Sustainable Futures:

  • encourages your students to develop skills in the process of inquiry, literature research, experimental investigation and critical thinking
  • facilitates collaborative learning
  • promotes a critical and an action based approach to problem solving
  • is teacher and student friendly
  • promotes collaboration between schools.

Sustainable Futures provides integrated curriculum units for teaching about sustainability and the environment, such as this soil investigation.

Support for registered teachers

Sustainable Futures provides the following support:

  • a set of integrated curriculum units for Years 3 to 9
  • a wealth of cross-curricular activities to support the teaching of sustainability and the environment
  • opportunities and activities for classes and individuals that lead to staff and students taking action at school and at home
  • opportunities for students to develop leadership, presentation and communication skills
  • opportunities to interact with 'real' scientists

Currently over 450 schools across Australia are registered in the program.

Sign up for the Sustainable Futures program

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