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Standards Site

Schemes of Work

Citizenship at key stage 3    (Year 7-9)

Unit 21: People and the environment
Section 1: How do local environmental issues affect our community? What are our rights and responsibilities?



Children should learn:
  • about a topical local environmental issue
  • to contribute to exploratory class discussion
  • to analyse a range of sources of information
  • to use their imagination to consider other people's experiences
  • to consider the importance of resolving conflict fairly
  • to justify opinions orally and/or in writing



  • Choose (with the involvement of pupils) a real local environmental issue, eg an application to build a waste incineration plant or a wind farm. Suitable stimulus materials could include: maps or photos, local newspaper headlines, a cartoon, diagrams, or a directed reading activity based on a newspaper article.
  • Use one of the following activities in considering rights and responsibilities in relation to the chosen environmental issue:
    • a real or fictional case study, perhaps relating to renewable and non-renewable energy resources. Pupils devise a grid showing the goals, rights and duties of a particular group of people affected by the issue they are investigating
    • a structured class discussion
    • a 'consequence mapping' exercise, in which pupils think about different situations and explore 'what might happen if...?'. Focus on the likely impact on specific groups of local people, eg the effect on local jobs, air quality or traffic volumes
    • a role-play in which the rights and responsibilities of different individuals are explored; conclude with a detailed debriefing and review
    • the collection and presentation of data relating to the case (perhaps data-logging environmental information collected at school), followed by either a case study or a role-play
    • an exercise in which pupils rank local services in order of importance, eg competing claims on a council budget for removing burnt-out cars, improving litter collection or improving environmental education. Pupils could research among their family and friends whether (and how) priorities differ between generations
  • Make a list of key words, eg
    • citizenship: right, responsibility, duty
    • science: renewable, non-renewable, fuel
  • contribute to group and class discussion
  • identify and use relevant information sources
  • produce and understand a structured summary of relevant information about an environmental issue for use in subsequent work
  • identify people who are affected by the environmental issue
  • identify the rights and responsibilities of different groups within society, including themselves
  • justify their opinions orally and/or in writing

Points to note

  • The purpose of this activity is to explore rights and responsibilities and to consider different points of view.
  • Choose a topic that offers sufficient scope and interest. Local media reports can be useful sources; pupils could find all the stories relating to the environment in a particular week or a particular edition.
  • A guest speaker could be invited to address the class, or audiotaped comments from local people could be used.
  • In this section pupils start to consider difficult issues and their effects on people. Whichever teaching activity is chosen, it is likely that the pupils will be working from incomplete information. Consideration of the nature of the information available should form part of the teaching strategy.

Sections in this unit

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This unit is divided into sections. Each section contains a sequence of activities with related objectives and outcomes. You can view this unit by moving through the sections or print/download the whole unit.
1. How do local environmental issues affect our community? What are our rights and responsibilities?
2. How can we weigh up the arguments?
3. Why is it important to weigh up the arguments?
4. What have we learnt?