Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
Social Studies

Learning about the Sustainable Development Goals

Reflect on the biggest challenges facing the world, and learn about the Sustainable Development Goals as a collaborative global effort in addressing these challenges.

Activity Partner
Total time estimate:
30-60 minutes
Activity Objectives
  • Students will consider the biggest challenges facing the world and learn about how these challenges may affect communities around the globe
  • Students will learn about the Sustainable Development Goals, which address these challenges and demonstrate the importance of everyone working together to make the world a better place

This activity supports the development of the following
social-emotional skills: relationship skills, responsible decision-making, self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness.


Guide students through a “think-pair-share” discussion about the following questions:

  • What is the biggest challenge facing the world today?
  • What observations, experiences, or information can you share about this challenge and its impact?

Students should take a few minutes to quietly think about their answers, and then discuss their answers with another classmate. Bring everyone together in a group discussion to share their thoughts.

Students’ responses can be recorded on sticky notes and placed on a wall where everyone can see them, or added to a digital board by using a tool such as Google Jamboard or Padlet.

Then, facilitate a live virtual exchange, or use Flipgrid, to invite students to share their ideas with your Empatico partner class. Encourage them to reflect on the similarities and differences between the challenges that they identified, and what they can learn about both communities from these challenges.


Watch the two videos below with your students to introduce the Sustainable Development Goals, which offer a new plan for the world in which we all work together in a global partnership to fight inequality and injustice, end poverty and hunger, tackle climate change, and much more.

Then, display the image below of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. To create the Global Goals, 193 countries came together to agree on a list of challenges that we need to solve in order to make our world a better place for everyone.


Guide students through a post-activity reflection by asking the following questions:

  • Did we identify the same challenges as our classmates? Why or why not? How do our own experiences and perspectives shape which challenges we identified?
  • How do the Global Goals relate to the issues that our class described as the biggest challenges facing the world?
  • To create the Global Goals, 193 countries came together to decide on which challenges we need to work together to solve. Why is it important to include people from different backgrounds when we are developing a plan like this?
  • Which goal(s) are most important to you? Why?  
  • Why would achieving the Global Goals make the world a better place for everyone?
  • Why is it important that we work together to achieve them?
  • People all over the world are working together to try to achieve these Global Goals. How do you feel when you think about this? How can you use these feelings to motivate yourself to take action and join the movement?

Additional Resources:

This activity was created in partnership with the World’s Largest Lesson.

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