How Big is your footprint? Children's Quiz
Notes for teachers

A series of issues have been selected for the quiz which affect our impact on each other, on the community and on the planet as a whole.
It is important to understand that this selection is subjective and incomplete and the quiz does not attempt to accurately measure the 'ecological footprint' or 'carbon footprint' as other internet footprint calculators do. It does not for instance provide an accurate mathematical measurement of land used by a particular lifestyle in the way that some other footprint models attempt to do.

See: for an example of how to measure your carbon footprint.
See: for an example of how to measure your ecological footprint

The Global Footprint quiz seeks to provide children with an opportunity to learn about and reflect on factors which affect their impact on each other and the community - locally and globally.

The quiz aims to:

  • raise important issues of global citizenship in an interactive and engaging way
  • provide a starting point or vehicle for encouraging discussion and debate on important global, social and environmental issues
  • stimulate children into actions which will help reduce their impact
  • encourage questioning and critical thinking on attitudes and behaviour

Each answer is awarded a score ranging from -3 to 3:

  • Attitudes or actions which increase the footprint are given a positive score between 1 and 3.
  • Attitudes or actions which reduce the footprint are given a negative score between -1 and -3.
  • Some responses are considered neutral and are awarded a zero score.

Ultimately, the lower the score the smaller the footprint. It should be acknowledged that the scores awarded for each answer are subjective.

The scoring system works on the basis that one positive action can offset a negative and vice versa. For example if a child selected both: All or most of the lights in our house are low energy light bulbs (-3) and When I am not watching telly I leave the TV on standby (2) the score for that question would be -1.
At the end of the quiz children have to determine where in the range of scores/footprints their total score lies. This provides an opportunity for children to practice ordering positive and negative numbers.

It is not intended that the quiz be completed in isolation, though of course there is no reason why children shouldn't access it themselves and try it out. As a classroom and teaching tool however, it should be used in conjunction with or run alongside other activities which explore the concept of the global footprint or our social, global or environmental impact.

Each question potentially explores some key issues and it is clearly only possible to explore and discuss these in depth one issue at a time. The choice of issue[s] to explore could reflect whatever is currently topical or media worthy, reflect topics being studied as a school or in the classroom, or be chosen on the basis that particular behaviours or attitudes from children have been displayed.

The learn more about the issues involved in each question pages [link] aim to provide quirky, alarming and informative facts and figures as starting points to explore the issues in more depth. They also present a slightly provocative discussion starter, inviting children to express their views on the issue. These can be used to engage children in written responses via the website, or in a group discussion. It is suggested that while children may examine a range of information boxes for the questions they should only be explored in depth one at a time.