Empower Your Classroom with Exciting SDG Teaching Resources! 

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

-Malala Yousafzai

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals designed and adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The goals recognize the importance of tackling pressing issues like poverty, gender inequality, food insecurity and education and others while ensuring we safeguard a livable planet for the future. 

The SDGs present exciting learning opportunities for both teachers and students. As part of an experiential learning journey the SDGs can help prepare young people to be part of a more sustainable future. The resources shared here can help increase awareness and engagement in the classroom and inspire students to be part of positive change in their local communities contributing to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. 

Curriculum Connections and Meeting Learning Goals

Applying the SDGs in classrooms gives students an opportunity to practice and enhance their Global Competencies. Developed overtime, these global competencies equip learners with the ability to meet the shifting and ongoing demands of life, work, and learning; to be active and responsive in their communities; to understand diverse perspectives; and to act on issues of global significance (Council of Ministers of Education).

Global competencies include six key attitudes, skills and areas of knowledge that include: 

  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship, 
  • learning to learn/self-awareness and self-direction, 
  • collaboration, 
  • communication
  • global citizenship and sustainability

Incorporating the SDGs into the educational curricula and lesson plans can provide students with an understanding of some of the most pressing local and global challenges of our time. With goals that focus on a range of social, environmental and economic challenges 17 SDGs have a wide range of unique curriculum connections. A resource created by the digital Human Library identifies curriculum connections opportunities by province. While designed for post-secondary educators, the SDG Module Mapping Tool could provide insights into SDG course and curriculum connections for a deeper understanding of the SDGs are embedded in learning opportunities. 

The SDGs can help bring learning to life in the classroom as students explore tangible connections between their learning goals and what is happening in the world around them. A list of International Days and weeks  can be a helpful guide to support student learning and advocacy. National day and observances in Canada, such as Black History Month (February), National Wildlife Week (April) and Human Rights Day (December 10), can also be good opportunities to help students deepen their learning and explore the role of awareness and advocacy in advancing the SDGs.  

Lesson Planning Resources

By bringing the SDGs into the classroom students can increase their awareness of challenges and build the skills and knowledge they need to be part of the solution. The World’s Largest Lesson has developed grade-specific lesson plans for integrating the SDGs from Grades 1 to 12. This online resource library offers a wealth of resources and fun activities designed to educate students on the SDGs and inspire them to take action. Other lesson planning resources include: 

  • Resources for Rethinking, developed by Learning for a Sustainable Future(LSF),  connects teachers to lesson plans, books, videos and other materials that explore the environmental, social and economic dimensions of important issues and events unfolding in our world today. 
  • The SDG Book Club aims to use books as a tool to encourage children ages 6-12 to engage with the principles of the SDGs through a curated reading list of books from around the world related to each of the 17 SDGs. Additionally, these online SDG Flash Cards provide a fun way for students to familiarize themselves with the SDGs!
  • LSF Action Toolkits are designed to support experiential learning activities for elementary to secondary school students. These toolkits help to support engaged learning and inquiry with instructions for in-class activities, step-by-step directions, follow-up activities and ideas for further investigation. Learn more about a local teacher and their grade 7 class who developed their own action projects to address the SDGs locally.
  • Belouga is an online platform that streamlines personalized global education for teachers and students with the focus on community and content. Through an internal approach called CLAI (Curiosity, Learning, Action, Impact) students and educators can access real world learning opportunities from global organizations, allowing them to apply their learnings to local communities and generate positive impact. 

Resources to Connect and Share 

Bringing SDGs into the classroom – also important to find ways to connect students and build broader youth movements. Connect to a national and global community learning about the SDGs:  

  • The Our Canada Project (OCP) is a nation-wide, youth drive initiative designed to inspire action on the SDGs. The online platform gives young people a chance to share how they are working for a better world. OCP also provides funding opportunities for SDG action projects across the country. 
  • AWorld is a mobile app developed to guide and incentivize everyone to live more sustainably and take action for a more sustainable planet. The online community supports actions, learning and sharing as we strive to achieve the SDGs.
  • Ecochallenge.org is an online platform where schools and classes can track, improve and compare their sustainability actions with others. These kinds of global platforms do a great job at connecting students  

Teaching the SDGs Tips and Best Practices

Teaching and bringing the SDGs into classrooms can be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone! Here are a few tips to get you started on your SDG teaching journey. 

  1. Invest in your own learning: Change for Children has compiled a list of online resources, including videos and games, to assist educators in understanding and addressing the SDGs. A Guide Book for Teachers developed by the UN offers an introduction and historical context to the SDGs. It includes essential questions and primary resources to enhance understanding and encourage engagement among students. LSF also provides professional development workshops aimed to support educators linking education to action in the context of the SDGs. Teach SDG is a platform that connects educators worldwide who are interested in bringing SDGs into their classrooms and directs them to accessible resources, lesson plans, and global projects that align with the SDGs.
  2. Incorporate SDG visuals and signage into your classroom: Global Goals posters and color in free SDG posters. The SDG coloring book can help students familiarize themselves with the SDGs and can be used by anyone that wishes to learn more about the SDGs. If you need more ideas, Artfolic is an online platform with a collection of creative work by students on the SDGs!  
  3. Make space for experiential learning: Get everyone involved with hands-on activities, such as recycling or cleaning up trash at a park to show the real impact of the SDGs. The Food for Thought Action Toolkit helps students to connect to the SDG through hands-on food activities and the Building a Vermicomposter Toolkit allows students to design mini composts while highlighting relevant SDG connections. Eco-schools action library compiled a list of experiential learning activities for schools across Canada. In addition, more inspirational hands-on activities for students are listed by SDGs on the UNESCO website. 
  4. Encouraging creativity (including storytelling) in learning about the SDGs: The stories of climate change by Oxfam helps students to think about the impacts of climate change. Frieda and the SDGs illustrates the colorful storytelling of the SDGs for younger audiences. MY World 360º is an online community of individuals dedicated to storytelling across different parts of the world. UNESCO has a collection of inspirational stories of agents of change and Voice of Youth is a digital online community for youth by youth where young people can submit blogs, illustrations, poems and other sparks of creativity through their website. Teaching SDG through Art highlights the relevance of the arts in the SDGs and includes activities that help students to reflect on the importance of expressing their understanding through various mediums. Teach SDGs has also assembled a list of ideas that connects students to each of the SDGs through art.