Last Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Building back better – second level

What is this?

This activity is designed to help children to consider the positive changes to the environment because of the lockdown and how pollution levels from travel have been reduced. It will enable children to use their creativity to create a campaign to change attitudes to travel in the future.

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) experiences and outcomes: Second level


  • I can report and comment on current scientific news items to develop my knowledge and understanding of topical science. (SCN 2-20b)

Expressive arts

  • I can develop and communicate my ideas, demonstrating imagination and presenting at least one possible solution to a design problem. (EXA 2-06a)

Literacy and English

  • I can consider the impact that layout and presentation will have and can combine lettering, graphics and other features to engage my reader. (LIT 2-24a)

Purpose of the activity

This activity will enable children to develop their creativity skills to devise a campaign for maintaining lowered levels of pollution. Children will develop knowledge and understanding of the positive environmental effects of lockdown. It will allow the children to develop their skills in persuasive writing to try and change attitudes to travel. It will also make children aware of the various career opportunities available which relate to creativity and environmental issues. Lastly, children will be able to develop their understanding of the effects of pollution in big cities.

Learning activity

Staff may wish to use these websites prior to delivering this activity to gain more information about the circular economy and how we can ‘build back better’.

National Museums Scotland: Build back better

World Economic Forum: Opportunities for a circular economy post COVID-19

How We Make Stuff

  • Discuss with children the environmental changes that have happened since lockdown. Consider why the levels of pollution have dropped, with a focus on travel. The children should appreciate that there can be positive outcomes from a very challenging set of circumstances. They may wish to explore how environmental scientists gather this information.
  • Invite children to consider what can be done to maintain these environmental improvements after lockdown. Would it be possible to “build back better”? They may wish to consider the modes of transport people use and whether people need to travel at all. For example, is travel necessary for work meetings or foreign holidays?
  • Ask children how they could encourage and influence society to continue to adopt these new habits in the future. They should devise a creative way to deliver their message about trying to change attitudes to travel. This could be in the format of a poster. They should research different posters already in circulation and consider the layout, colours used, font and language before commencing their design. They could use digital technology if it is available to them.

Extension activity

  • Children could research further, the impact that traffic pollution has on people’s health in big cities. For example, Glasgow, London, Beijing and Los Angeles. They could investigate some of the measures already taken in these cities to improve levels of pollution and whether they are successful.

National Benchmarks


  • Explores items of current scientific interest within the school, local community, nationally or in the global media and collates, organises and summarises findings, with assistance.
  • Shares opinions about a variety of topical scientific issues considering, for example, moral, ethical, societal, cultural, economic and environmental aspects.

Expressive Arts

  • Shows understanding of the concept of depth, for example, shows a foreground, a middle ground and a background in a picture.

Literacy and English

  • Makes appropriate choices about layout and presentation, including in digital texts, to engage the reader, for example, headings, bullet points, fonts, graphics and/or captions.

Possible approach to assessing learning

When planning your approach to assessing learning, please take account of the latest guidance on assessment approaches.

  • Children could prepare a presentation on their research findings on city pollution, focussing on one chosen city.