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3rd, 4th, 5th


Social Studies, Civics, English Language Arts, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom
  • Lesson Plan, 45 minutes

Regional Focus




World Leaders Speech

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  • In this fun classroom activity, students write and perform a 2-minute speech pretending they are world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly. 

Teaching Tips


  • This activity empowers children to speak boldly and publicly about the urgency of the climate crisis.
  • The teacher guide includes example speeches from the climate activists Alexandria Villaseñor, Greta Thunberg, and Severn Cullis-Suzuki.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers can use the example speeches to provide a guide for students and inspire them in their own speech writing.


  • Students could write their speech from the perspective of children in another part of the world. This would help grow their knowledge about climate issues in other regions.
  • The students should be encouraged to write with emotion. Classes could discuss the feelings climate change evokes like anxiety, frustration, hopelessness, etc.
  • Students could vote on their favorite speech and the best ones could be published in the school's newspaper or other publications.
  • Students could do a peer review to help improve their speeches before presenting to the entire class.
  • Teachers could organize a virtual tour of the United Nations building in New York City.
  • Other speeches that could be used as examples for students include Greta Thunberg's speech at COP25, this speech by Chiamaka Obilo at a rally in Boston, and this speech by Maxine Jimenez.
Scientist Notes
This resource aims to show students how the use of emotion and personal stories can help lawmakers shape policy. The example speeches are well-crafted, and the facts in them are accurate. The sources for this activity have abundant information on the importance of local action and influencing policymakers. One caveat is that not all of the information in the UNICEF Our Changing Climate handbook is totally accurate, as it is written for young children, so scientifically there are a couple of errors where they have simplified the information. However, overall it is a good resource. This activity is recommended for teaching.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking and Listening (K-12)
      • SL.5.4 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts, audiences, and communicative tasks.
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