A sustainable Olympics

Key stage 3 Geography

Enquiry question: Has the 2012 Olympics made the Lower Lea Valley more sustainable?

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding

Sustainability is not a new idea. People lived sustainably in the past

The 2012 Olympics promised to be ‘the greenest Games ever’

A key part of the 2012 sustainability policy was to leave a lasting legacy in East London

Geographical skills

Draw an annotated sketch to show sustainability

Carry out a sustainability assessment

Learning outcomes

Most students will be able to:

Understand the concept of sustainable development

Identify unsustainable/sustainable features of the Lea Valley

Compare sustainability in two neighbourhoods

Evaluate how successful the London 2012 Sustainability Policy has been

Pre-visit recommendation

Students read the London 2012 Sustainability Policy and think about ways in which the Olympics could make the Lea Valley more sustainable.


Sheet 1: London 2012 Sustainability Policy


Meet at the House Mill, close to Bromley-by-Bow station. It is the world’s largest tidal mill and a model of sustainable development. In the classroom, guide students towards a definition of ‘sustainable development’. Ask them if they think the 2012 Olympics were sustainable or not.


Sheet 2: What is sustainable development?


Location 1: House Mill. Tour the mill with a guide to demonstrate how it was sustainable. Consider plans to generate HEP at the mill. Outside the mill, draw an annotated field sketch to show how it was sustainable.

Location 2: Three Mills Lock. Walk to the lock. Consider the effect the lock has on tidal flow and water level. Examine plans to bring boats to the Olympic Park.

Location 3: Hackney Wick. Walk along the Lee Navigation canal to Hackney Wick. On the route, note features that make the Lea Valley sustainable – waterways, railways, Forman’s factory. Take a short walk around Hackney Wick, an area comparable to the Olympic Park site pre-2012. Students carry out a sustainability assessment.

Location 4: East Village. Walk across the Olympic Park to East Village. On the route, note features that make the Park sustainable – Olympic stadium, Energy Centre, Media Centre. Take a short walk around East Village, the Athletes Village in 2012. Students carry out a sustainability assessment. They draw an annotated field sketch/take photos to show how it is sustainable.


Sheet 3: What made House Mill sustainable?

Sheet 4: House Mill sketch

Sheet 5: Three Mills Lock

Sheets 6-8: Sustainability assessments

Sheet 9: Sustainability around the Olympic Park


Students report their observations from the journey. What sustainable features did they see in the Lea Valley? How are they linked to the 2012 Sustainability Policy? How does East Village compare with Hackney Wick? Students evaluate how successful the London 2012 Sustainability Policy has been.


Sheet 10: Evaluate sustainable development in the Lea Valley

Additional costs (2017 prices)

House Mill guided tour: £3.00 per student (optional)