How many planets does it take to make the world go round? Put this question to your students - or your colleagues - and the response is likely to be baffled looks. But if everyone used the Earth's resources at the same rate as people in Britain and the US, we would need not one planet to live on, but three.
This rate of consumption, according to wildlife charity WWF, means that we are spoiling some of the world's richest forests, are close to overfishing many of our seas and are driving some species perilously close to extinction. Many climate scientists agree that if we continue to live in this way, and allow global temperatures to rise by more than 2 degsC, the damage to the Earth's fragile ecosystems may be irreversible.
But how can we convey these facts to children without giving them nightmares? And how can we provide an environmental education that teaches children that nature and people are inextricably linked?
You could start with One Planet Future, a short film produced by Green.TV and WWF, in which drawings and narration by schoolchildren are brought together by sound and animation experts (bit.lyOnePlanetFuture). It explores the "crazy business" of how rapidly we are devouring the world's resources.
Brightly coloured elephants, monkeys and tigers dance across the screen, while youthful voices tell us that there was once a time "when the world was innocent", when animals of every kind roamed freely. But then darkness fell over the Earth. Animals were hunted; the planet was transformed and polluted by roads and humans.
The film inspires children because it is made by children. It asks them to consider what could be done to improve the way we use our natural resources. WWF and Green.TV believe that it is a useful first step towards helping a generation to realise the damage we are doing to our planet and to think about ways to change.
Ask your students to come up with ways to teach people how all living things are connected and are dependent on each other for survival.
10 LESSON PLANS
Eco Week, 14-21 June, UK
1. Bee hotel
How far do fruit and vegetables travel to reach us? Why are bees important to humans? How is a bee hotel made? Find out with these ideas for lessons that celebrate Eco Week.
2. Mud stoves
In this engaging activity, set students the task of designing their own energy-saving mud stoves, similar to ones that are used in Africa.
3. Eco-friendly classrooms
Bring the community together to create an eco-friendly classroom, with the help of this video from Teachers TV.
How does mining affect the environment? Students investigate its impact by taking on the role of an environmental campaigner or a mining company boss.
5. Save the planet in French
Learn the French words for global warming, endangered species and air pollution, and inspire students to practise their linguistic skills as they help to save the planet.
Explore the topic of icebergs and their importance to the environment using this Widgit Symbols worksheet.
7. Eco-friendly packaging
Send your class on a trip to the supermarket, either as homework or in school time, to research eco-friendly, sustainable and recyclable packaging.
8. Planet Spanish
Using this illustrated PowerPoint, teach students about environment issues such as rubbish dumps and oil spillages - in Spanish.
9. Caring for the environment
How do children around the world care for the environment? What do your students do to look after their local area? Help them to turn their ideas into actions.
10. The only planet we've got
Prompt a classroom debate on eco-living and environmental sustainability using a poem that explores the way we treat our planet.
Find these lesson plans at bit.lyEcoWeek2013
10 LESSON PLANS
Child Safety Week, 24-30 June, UK
1. The Happy Gang
What are the potential dangers of crossing roads or playing near water? In this video from BBC Class Clips - PSHE amp; SEN, members of the Happy Gang explain how risks should be assessed and share some simple strategies for staying safe.
2. Safe decisions
How can we make our local areas safe? This decision-making exercise encourages students to think about how they can improve the safety of their immediate environment.
3. Highway code
Teach children about the highway code for UK road users, from pelican crossings to wearing seat belts and visibility vests. This flash-card activity is ideal for students with special needs.
4. Harry the Hedgehog
In this visual-sequencing activity, help Harry the Hedgehog to cross the road and introduce your students to the Green Cross Code of pedestrian road safety. 5. Personal survival tasks
Assess your students' swimming, rescuing and first-aid skills with these flash cards on personal survival.
6. In the kitchen
What is a kitchen hazard? What could cause burns, cuts, slips and falls? Develop students' understanding of safety in the kitchen using this PowerPoint guide.
7. Hazard hunters
Students identify hazards and learn how to manage risk in this informative set of activities.
8. Recovery position
How do you put someone who has collapsed into the recovery position? Ensure that your students know how to cope in first-aid emergencies, using a series of videos from TES Connect partner British Red Cross.
9. Railway safety
Britain has more than 6,500 level crossings. They save thousands of lives but they can also be perilous. Introduce railway safety with some hard-hitting facts.
10. Be a safety hero
Celebrate unsung safety achievements and everyday heroes using a series of events and activities for your whole school.
Find these lesson plans at bit.lyChildSafetyWeek2013
3 SPECIAL NEEDS RESOURCES
1. Voyage of discovery
Send children on a minibeast hunt with a selection of discovery sheets from bevevans22, which include visual prompts and symbols to help them along. bit.lyVoyageOfDiscovery
2. Clever questions
Do you like looking in the mirror? Develop students' self-esteem, empathy and cooperation skills using Mecky Turner's series of quick questions. bit.lyCleverQuestions
3. Speak easy
Help students who struggle to converse by getting them to take it in turns to speak with a classmate using appropriate language. See Matt Grant's checklist. bit.lyPragmaticSkills
Game, set and match Which tennis players will triumph at the Wimbledon Championships this year? More importantly, what dreams and aspirations do your students have? Inspire them to achieve their goals with Irabbetts' assembly.
Refugee Week, 17-23 June, UK Using an assembly and presentation from TES Connect partner Christian Aid, introduce students to refugees in Burma and Bangladesh.
Working together The story of Farmer Sheep teaches students how people who are different can work together and develop good relationships.
Acts of kindness Explore the role of kindness in our lives, and encourage students to help other people, with an assembly shared by jeanettedav.
Brain food Prepare for National Bookstart Week (24-30 June, UK), and remind students why it is important to feed their brains with books, using a PowerPoint from gibboanseo.
Find these assemblies at bit.lyJuneAssemblies2013.