Unit 1:

Exploring the Sustainable Development Goals

In this unit, students will research the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and connect these goals with issues at their own school and in their own lives.

Please read the introduction to this curriculum before beginning any lessons.

Grade Level:

  • 6 - 12 grade or equivalent

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Performance Expectations:

Middle and high school:

  • Asking questions and defining problems

  • Developing and using models

  • Planning and carrying out investigations

  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions

  • Engaging in argument from evidence

  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

5E Unit Element:

  • Engage

Ecological Society of America 4DEE Framework:

  • Human-Environment Interactions

  • Cross-Cutting Themes

Enduring Understandings (the Big Ideas)

Students will understand that:

  • The SDGs are interlinked global goals that provide a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.

  • Global goals can be applied to local situations to envision ways to improve our own personal lives, culture, and place.

  • There is value in being aware of the SDGs if applied to our everyday life. Students will become aware of what they value in the SDGs.

Essential Questions

  • How do our personal experiences, culture, and place shape what we find important?

  • How do the SDG goals connect to our personal experiences, culture, and place to allow for a more sustainable future for all?

  • Can we address any of these SDGs in our own school? In our own places?


  • Pre-assessment question (entrance slip)

  • Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (C-E-R) presentations

  • Student rubric for Gallery Walk

  • Group reflection on C-E-Rs

  • Journal entries

  • Preparation of slide(s) for presentation in Lesson 5