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The Day After Tomorrow

  • Key Stage 3
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Information retrieval
Topic: Atmospheric pollution

The global blockbuster 'The Day After Tomorrow' has reached British cinemas. Will the movie's frighteningly dramatic scenarios come true? This activity helps students to learn to argue scientifically, as well as to understand the central scientific hypothesis in the film.

The teaching strategy in this activity is adapted from Ideas, Evidence and Argument in Science (IDEAS). Training manual, Resource Pack and Video. London: King's College London, Osborne, J., Erduran, S., & Simon, S. (2004).

Published: 23rd January 2005
Reviews & Comments: 15

Learning objectives

Students will practise constructing a scientific argument and consider the evidence for the film's central hypothesis, that global warming will shut down the gulf stream and freeze the northern hemisphere.

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11 - 14 (KS3)
environmental chemistry QCA 9g - consider how evidence for climate change needs careful interpretation; use secondary sources to answer scientific questions; evaluate evidence put forward by others; discuss and evaluate conflicting evidence to arrive at a considered viewpoint.
ideas and evidence - the interplay between empirical questions, evidence and scientific
explanations using historical and contemporary examples.

Running the activity

Suggested time: 20 minutes

Suggested starter: If possible, show the Day After Tomorrow website - the section 'weather gone wild' includes some exciting dramatized facts and

Main activity: Show pages 1 and 2 - either projected or on an overhead projector. Page 1 dramatically questions the film's central hypothesis that 'the Gulf Stream will stop flowing, so plunging the northern hemisphere into a sudden ice age'. Page 2 is an annotated diagram describing the Gulf Stream.
Then tell students they will construct a logical scientific argument to explain the film's hypothesis. Students select statements from a list, which is arranged in the correct sequence (page 3 onwards), and then justify their choices. Through so doing, they will practise arguing scientifically.

Possible plenary:
Students justify the arguments they selected in class discussion. You could get them to vote on whether the predictions in 'The Day After Tomorrow' will come true!

News links

The Day After Tomorrow
Official Website

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

The Day After Tomorrow review

Apr 22nd, 2012

5 Star

Great opportunity to make pupils aware of climate change with a fun activity!

Reviewer: Lilian Buuron


Sep 4th, 2010

4 Star

This was very topical for our 'Environment Day' at school.
My Yr 8's enjoyed watching a clip from the movie, but the activity itself was quite short and some of my lower-ability children found it a little confusing.

Reviewer: Simone Lively

Year 10 Btec

Jan 17th, 2010

5 Star

Pupils really enjoyed this as it had enough structure so they understoood what to do but an enough flexiability to created a lively debate

Reviewer: Andrew McLellan

Global warming

Oct 13th, 2008

4 Star

I used this to help teach the aspect of global warming and climate change with my year 10 class. It got them to consider and debate scientific points of views which was very interesting.

Reviewer: Melissa Baines


Jul 1st, 2008

4 Star

I used this in the AQA B1b section on Sustainability last year. It really tied in with the festival that they had all heard about, the pictures were good and they really understood WHY piles of rubbish and sewage was a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Reviewer: Lyndsey Montgomery

ks4 physics

Jun 25th, 2008

4 Star

Ok, a good link between the screen and science. promoted good debate on the scale of time included in global changes of this type. succesful cartoon activity completed.

Reviewer: chris mason

The Day After Tomorrow review

Jun 12th, 2008

5 Star

This was a really good activity. I did it with my year 9's after watching the movie. It was great. The pupils had to use their knowledge and understand to complete the task.

Reviewer: Imelda Mc Kenna


Mar 28th, 2008

5 Star

thank you for the wonderful input and suggested activities. i can surely use it for the school Earth day celebration.

Reviewer: aminah mansor

Day After Tomorrow - A winner!

Jan 27th, 2007

4 Star

Used both day after tomorrow resources in a 1 h lesson with a all girls top set Year 9. They loved it! Constraints of time would make me do it differently next time and I intend to try it with a middle set in the future. A great resource. Thank you.

Reviewer: Michele Morris

Day after to tomorrow

May 9th, 2006

4 Star

The students all got invovled in discussing their ideas, and even the most beligerent were arguing their case at the end. A great activity to finish the module with!

Reviewer: Steven Diamond

day after tomorrow

May 8th, 2006

4 Star

Used this to teach a lesson on interview about environment and pollution. It went down well, the starter had the students hooked.
I then adapted the sheets to do a card sort on the 3 main areas for the manifesto, with extra cards added for extension work.
The lesson went so well I got the job! Thanks for the inspiration.

Reviewer: Michelle Brockbank

The day after tomorrow

Jan 24th, 2006

4 Star

Used this witha middle ability ,difficult yr9. it kept even the most dificult on task and was of great interest to the boys. watching the film made them think they were getting away without working, but stopping and discussing as we went was very fruitful.

Reviewer: lesley long

The day after tomorrow 06/07/05

Jul 6th, 2005

5 Star

the pupils found it very interesting, which generated a lot of discussions and opinions. showing the clip of the movie at the start really motivated them and all worked enthusisatically. this was an excellent resource to use at this time of the year to keep the pupils interested.

Reviewer: Fairuz afreen

The day after tomorrow

Jun 18th, 2005

4 Star

My Y9s found this a very interesing activity to do. We watched parts of the film the day after tomorrow which they enjoyed. Then I used this upd8 activity as a bridging activity between the media and Scientific issues. They were able to make the links between the science seen in a film and the issues of climate change and the possible future consequences. They had not considered the issues seen in the the film in this way before.

I also showed them the images from the Mark Lynas website which have been taken from his amazing book "High Tide: News from a Warming World". They made comparisons between the film and the book and discussed the differences.

The sequencing activity challenged them to think about cause and effect.


Richard Waller, Comberton Village College, Cambridge

Reviewer: Richard Waller

day after tomorrow

Feb 25th, 2005

4 Star

Pupils found this lesson very interesting - i played the 'streamed' movie clip from the website as pupils enetered the room -caused a lot of discussion
the activity was well recieved and pupils eagerly cut and stuck the correct statements to make a cartoon strip. the link to the offical website was also an excellent resource. the music, the images all superb.

Reviewer: paula phillips

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