What Are the SDGs?

Learn about the Global Goals as a collaborative effort in addressing the biggest challenges in the world.
Ages 8-14 / 30
min Activity
Perspective Taking
Social Studies


  • ‍Consider the biggest challenges facing the world and learn about how these challenges may affect communities around the globe
  • ‍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

Supporting Research

When people identify shared problems and goals, research shows that this experience empowers them to put aside their differences and focus on what they share in common. Educators should encourage students to practice self-awareness and perspective taking to identify important global issues, and collaboration to imagine themselves as being on the same team that is working together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.


Activity Partners


  1. Engage students in a Think-Pair-Share activity, in which they:
    Think individually about, and write down, the biggest challenge facing the world today. For example, it could be a challenge related to the environment, poverty, health, or education. Students should also write down how they feel about this issue, and any observations, experiences, or information they can share about the impact of this issue.
    Pair with a classmate to share their ideas. Encourage students to reflect on any similarities or differences between the challenges that they identified.
    Share their ideas with the rest of the class. During this part, educators should write down a list of students’ responses on a digital or physical board that is visible to everyone.
  2. Watch the video 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.
  3. Then, display the image below, which shows the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Explain to students that in order 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.
  4. Engage students in a group discussion 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?
    • 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?


If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.