Skip to main content

Let’s Talk Science and the Royal Society of Canada have partnered to provide Globe and Mail readers with relevant coverage about issues that affect us all – from education to the impact of leading-edge scientific discoveries.

Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, are a roadmap for protecting our planet and its citizens. The activities below offer ways to encourage youth to investigate the world with purpose, seek out problems and discover solutions – all using the Goals Checklist!

Enter as Co-Learners

The Global Goals create a perfect opportunity for adults to demonstrate vulnerability. Sometimes young people may think adults have all the answers and knowledge. This assumption can actually limit opportunities for children and youth to take the lead of their own learning journeys. With adults and young people entering as co-learners, learning can be a process of discovery and exploration--full of questions and problems to be solved - together!

1. Post a free copy of the free Global Goals Poster in a place that is visible to all: a door to a classroom, a kitchen wall, the back of a car headrest.

2. Wait for youth to show interest and ask about the poster.

3. Answer their questions with responses like “These are the Global Goals. It is a big checklist for our whole world. I am just learning about them. Do you want to learn with me?”

4. Return to the Global Goals poster to connect new learnings to the individual Goals.

Connect to Interests

The Global Goals offer a place for everyone. If you want to go deep with a current topic or if you want to make lines of connection to a new area of learning, the 17 Goals can become a space for exploring interests, talents, and skills. A fun activity to get going with the Goals is a Card Sort. All you need is a piece of paper and a little bit of time.

1. Give the young person a blank piece of paper.

2. Ask them to fold the paper into four equal parts (four quadrants). Then, ask them to tear the paper along the folded lines.

3. With four pieces of paper of equal sizes in hand, show the Global Goals poster. Ask them to select four Goals they are interested in. Invite them to write (or draw) each of the four Goals they selected on the pieces of paper (one Goal for each piece of paper).

4. Have the young person place the four pieces of paper in front of them, then ask them to put them in order. Try to not give any extra directions. Use this as an opportunity for them to decide on what you mean by “order”---any way that makes sense to them is right.

5. With all answers being correct, ask them to share their order and the reasoning behind it. This allows for creative and independent thinking. Think together on a plan for how to approach one or more of the Goals. What are ways to take action together?

Innovate, Build, Wonder, Solve

If we are to reach the 17 Global Goals by 2030, we will need innovative ideas, hands, and minds taking action! Young people can work as investigators and builders--using science, research, and data to guide the way. SDG 13: Climate Action can be an ideal landing spot for your young learners. This Goal will require everyone, everywhere to consider daily activities and take action to protect the planet and safeguard our future. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Bring climate action to your classroom or home library. Check out the Climate Action Booklist for Classrooms, a free resource of 150 titles for children ages 3 up to adult, all organized by a global team of educators

2. Bring climate action to your computers: Use tech to teach about climate change through research, gaming, and design. Build “sustainable worlds” in Minecraft or work with your young “planet protector” to measure impact with the EarthProject carbon calculator app.

3. Bring climate action to outdoor spaces: Plant and care for a tree, join for a beach cleanup, make and spread “seed balls.” Learn about the 8 Rs to re-evaluate your own impact with plastic: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Regift, Repair, Recycle.

4. Bring climate action to your science studies: Climate sciences can be a part of all science studies: space, foods, chemistry, biology, geology, and more. Encourage young people to think and communicate as scientists. Invite them to create “data visualizations” to show facts and information visually with art, infographics, and images. The Clothing4Climate project encourages youth in Grades 7 to 12 to learn about the science behind climate change and the impact our clothing system has on the environment.

For more activities related to Climate, the SDGs and STEM learning visit

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

Follow topics related to this article:

Check Following for new articles

Interact with The Globe