Explore Challenges

21st Century Challenges teaching resources

Tickets to 21st Century Challenges events
A limited number of complimentary tickets (advance booking only) are available for RGS-IBG schools members. Students must be accompanied by a teacher. Please email events@rgs.org for details.

Teaching resources
Teaching resources linked to 21st Century Challenge discussions are available on the RGS-IBG Key Stage 5 teaching resource page.
Resources include:

- Lesson plans
- Teaching ideas

- Curriculum links
- Overview sheets
- Case studies
- Powerpoint presentations
- Exam specification
- Work sheets

Topics include globalisation, food security, urbanisation, global health, development,
poverty, sustainability, pollution, NIMBYism, water footrpints, digital divide, natural disasters, population demographics, flooding, deforestation, climate change and migration.

All suggestions and feedback welcome at 21cc@rgs.org

Posters
and Factcards

We have produced a series of infographics which you can download as posters or email 21cc@rgs.org to be sent free sets of factcards.

PHOTO FACT CARDS (Download PDF)

21st Century Challenges POSTERS x 13 (DOWNLOAD PDF)

Slums and the rise of the informal economy infographic (DOWNLOAD PDF)

Digital technology in Africa infographic (DOWNLOAD PDF)

A- Z 21st Century Challenges infographic (DOWNLOAD PDF)

What's your 21st Century Challenge?

We asked the public what their 21st Century challenge was. Here are some of their ideas. Please send us yours and we'll post them on the website!


Equalising education

Equalising education

The deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goal target of eliminating gender disparity in education by 2015 is looming. How far have we come in equalising access to education, work and decision-making?

Teaching Resources
Air quality for all

Air quality for all

How can creative technology and new thinking help the world breathe more easily?

 

Teaching Resources
Escape to the city

Escape to the city

By 2050 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. How can cities respond to this demand without compromising on wellbeing? Can the benefits of urban life outweigh the negatives? And would you escape to the city?

Teaching Resources

Mobile middle class

Mobile middle class

The global class system is changing. For the first time in history a world which was once predominantly poor will be mostly middle class. The middle class is declining in the West but rapidly increasing in developing countries. What impact is this having on people and planet, and is it sustainable?

 

Teaching Resources
Big data, big impact?

Big data, big impact?

 

We are living in a data explosion where we generate and consume data faster than we can keep track of and secure. This volume of new data presents us with additional challenges: what are we going to do with it? How are we unlocking its potential? And how are we making it work for society?

Teaching Resources
Feeding the 9 billion

Feeding the 9 billion



Our global food system is under increasing strain. We need to produce and supply enough safe and nutritious food in a sustainable way to a population which is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050. How are we meeting this challenge with new technology as well as new thinking?

Teaching Resources

Countryside in Crisis?

Countryside in Crisis?


Environmental risks and hazards like bovine TB, ash dieback and neonicotinoid pesticides are affecting our biodiversity and agriculture. Is Government getting its policies right and striking a balance between maximising innovation and minimising harm?

No schools resources for this challenge

Teaching Resources
The Energy Water Food Stress Nexus

The Energy Water Food Stress Nexus

The world's energy, water and food systems are tightly linked. How will these vital resources cope in the coming decades from a growing and more prosperous global population?

Join us to explore and discuss the challenges facing the management and future use of these key resources from a unique range of perspectives.

Hear from our internationally renowned panel and have a chance to put your own questions to them.

No schools resources for this challenge

 

Teaching Resources
Unsustainable Fishing

Unsustainable Fishing

How can we avoid the collapse of a resource that remains an essential part of food security and vital to the communities and livelihoods of half a billion people across the planet? Join our expert panel to explore this issue and put your own questions to them. 

 

Teaching Resources

Keeping pace with a digital revolution

Keeping pace with a digital revolution

The internet is rapidly evolving to play a central role in society, transforming social, cultural, economic and political landscapes. 

The benefits are clear, but are societies equipped to keep pace with the consequences of our increasing reliance on this technology?

Schools resources coming soon

Teaching Resources
Global health in the 21st Century

Global health in the 21st Century

Can societies strike a balance between combating the dangers of viral outbreaks and pandemics, while maintaining the hopes of eradicating established diseases, such as malaria, which continue to claim millions of lives each year?

Teaching Resources
Adapting to an urban future

Adapting to an urban future

Humans are rapidly becoming an urban species.

Global population has passed 7 billion, 3.5 billion people are urbanised and over 1 billion people now live in slums.

How will urban centres keep pace with predicted continuing growth? What are the visions of tomorrow's cities?

Teaching Resources

Educating for tomorrow

Educating for tomorrow

Living in an increasingly globalised society offers both opportunities and challenges.

How can education best prepare young Britons to fulfil their potential in a rapidly changing world?

No schools resources for this challenge

Teaching Resources
Digital technology in Africa

Digital technology in Africa

How can digital technologies such as mobiles and laptops offer the countries of Africa realistic economic, educational and development opportunities.

Teaching Resources
Persistent poverty in Britain

Persistent poverty in Britain

Britain is the world’s fifth richest country, yet poverty in Britain is rising. With paid work failing to reduce poverty for many, how can Britain best tackle this growing issue?  

Teaching Resources

Can the UK ever be sustainable?

Can the UK ever be sustainable?

Our way of life is placing an increasing burden on the planet, but how realistic are visions of a sustainable future? How can business, politics and the creative industries help create a sustainable future?  

Teaching Resources
Plastic pollution in the oceans

Plastic pollution in the oceans

Our throw away society is polluting large areas of the world's oceans with plastics, threatening marine life and food chains. How did it get there? What are the practical solutions? Is it time to re-evaluate waste as a resource?

Teaching Resources
Natural disasters: how to improve?

Natural disasters: how to improve?

How can we improve our response to natural disasters and ensure lessons learnt benefit vulnerable communities worldwide in the long-term?  

Teaching Resources

Not In My Back Yard

Not In My Back Yard

With pressure on the UK’s ageing energy and transport infrastructures mounting, is it time to put projects of national importance ahead of local concerns? Or does this bypass our democratic right to object?  

Teaching Resources
Digital Divide in the UK?

Digital Divide in the UK?

Does the internet's rapid evolution and increasing role in daily life threaten to leave some sections of society behind?

Teaching Resources
Importing goods, exporting drought?

Importing goods, exporting drought?

The scale of global water consumption needed to produce what we use and consume has a dramatic impact around the world. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, discover the hidden cost of Britain's consumption?  

Teaching Resources

Britain’s ageing population

Britain’s ageing population

As the baby boom generation approach retirement, Britain's population is ageing.

Discover the changing nature of retirement; the importance of older people in the workforce; the increasing pressures on public services and how Britain is adapting to an ageing society.  

Teaching Resources
Engineering our climate

Engineering our climate

Geo-engineering, the deliberate manipulation of the earth's climate, is not a solution to climate change.

But can it be an effective means to delay its impact? Should we be researching it as 'Plan B'?  

Teaching Resources
The future shape of Capitalism

The future shape of Capitalism

Will the recent financial crisis and the downturn in the global economy change the shape of capitalism as we know it today? 

No schools resources for this challenge

Teaching Resources
Migration: skills and the job market

Migration: skills and the job market

Too often controversy surrounding UK migration and what impacts migrants have on our economy and society is based on myth, fear and falsehood.

Explore some of the issues and misconceptions around changing European workforce patterns in the 21st Century. 

Teaching Resources
Razing the Rainforest

Razing the Rainforest

How can we best conserve the world's rainforests in the face of enormous challenges from palm oil, timber trade, green colonialism and biofuels?  

Teaching Resources
London under water

London under water

What is the threat of flooding to London’s people and infrastructure? How will current defences cope with enhanced flood risk to the capital over the next 30 years?  

Teaching Resources
Concreting the countryside

Concreting the countryside

How should we accommodate the housing expansion in London and SE England? Should we be building on greenfield or brownfield land?  

Teaching Resources
Future of low carbon energy

Future of low carbon energy

With countries across the world working towards a low carbon future, how can global investment be encouraged to forward low carbon technologies?  

Teaching Resources
Africa in the 21st Century

Africa in the 21st Century

Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, and humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof discuss the major challenges facing the countries of Africa in the 21st century.  

No schools resources for this challenge

Teaching Resources