The Sustainable Development Goals are humanity’s to-do list for a sustainable planet, a clear roadmap for a better future. This matters to each of us because we are all responsible for being a part of the change. SDGs play a huge part in my science classrooms. These goals can help me engage students and inform lesson plans.
Discover some of the activities and projects I have undertaken with my students to stay on the road to a prosperous planet.
2021 Goals Project by Take Action Global /January 25 – March 4/
The 6-week program brought together over 3,000 schools and classrooms from 118 countries to examine the UN Sustainable Development Goals and their ability to take action through shared experience and use of innovative technologies and practices. Students took on one Global Goal and worked with students from other countries as they consider both local and global implications. In the final week, students joined with project partners from the UN in a global online celebration, the Goals Project Day of Solutions, as they shared their learning, actions, and even inventions.
The United Nations has been offering an exclusive Virtual Tour of the UN Headquarters in NYC for all Goals Project teachers and students.
Ocean & Coastal Acidification Project /2021 March 20 – April 20 /
Students analyzed computer simulations and time series graphs and constructed explanations for how ocean chemistry and marine ecosystems are changing in response to anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2 in Pacific Ecosystem. Using data from NOAA, students explored relationships between carbon dioxide, ocean pH and aragonite saturation state. By examining these parameters using graphs and models, students could predict whether ocean conditions support the growth and survival of shell-building marine life, both now and in the future.
Students worked in teams to develop their own questions, collect evidence and draw conclusions.
The project included the next task:
1.How Does Rising CO2 Impact Ocean pH? – Students learned to read and interpret graphs of atmospheric and ocean CO2 . Students predicted the likely effect of changes in CO2 on ocean pH.
2.Measuring Changes in Ocean pH: Students used data and models to understand the relationship between ocean carbon dioxide and pH.
3. Examining Acidification Along the Coast: Students analyzed ocean chemistry data to compare coastal and ocean acidification.
4. Acidification’s Impact on Shell-building Animals: Students examined carbonate data in a coastal ecosystem and explained the relationships between global increases in CO2 , ocean pH and aragonite saturation state. Here, they had an opportunity to run a scientific model and observed how aragonite saturation state is expected to change over the next century.
5. Designing Your Own Investigation: Students applied what they had learned about ocean acidification along the Pacific Coast to a new ecosystem, the Gulf of Maine.
As a final product each group made a scientific poster and shared the results of their work with school community via Sway.
The activities has been incorporated into the existing curriculum to support the three dimensional learning (principles, core ideas, and concepts) introduced in the K-12 Framework for Science Education.
On March 30th students travelled virtually to NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Kodiak(Alaska). They took part in live session with scientists and learned about the daily operations, crab research, long-standing ocean acidification research projects and dive team operations.
Scientists at the Kodiak Lab conduct field and laboratory research on the abundance and distribution of marine invertebrate and fish populations. They provide information necessary to conserve, protect, and manage economically important Alaskan shellfish resources, including king, Tanner, and snow crabs, for the benefit of the nation.
It was a very enriching visit. The students noticed how school knowledge is applied in everyday life.
What we can do- students’ conclusions
Even though the ocean may seem far away from our front door, there are things we can do in our life and in our home that can help to slow ocean acidification and carbon dioxide emissions. The best thing we can do is to try and lower how much carbon dioxide we use every day.
One of the most important things we could do was to tell our friends and family about ocean acidification. A lot of people still don’t know it is happening. So we have talked about it in school, local community and shared via social media!
#ConnectedbyEarth- celebrating Earth Day with NASA
This year my students celebrated Earth Day with NASA . It was a virtual event from Wednesday, April 21, through Saturday, April 24. They took part in live presentations by NASA scientists, as well as interactive chats with Earth science experts. Students made posters and published on Wakelet. https://wakelet.com/wake/Bdg1dQtL0dTHUhKfCE5EW
On Earth Day, April 22, they participated in a special live conversation with five NASA astronauts living and working in space. The astronauts answered questions related to climate change, and how they study Earth from space.
They also took part in live webinar with experts who talked about the water cycle, glaciers, and impacts of climate change, plants in space and space crop production, and Earth’s role in our Solar System.
Participating in interactive chats with Earth science experts helped them to explore the connections between Earth’s atmosphere, water cycle, forests, fields, cities, ice caps, and climate.
From space, it’s easy to see how Earth connects us all. How ecosystems as different as the Sahara Desert and the Amazon Rainforest are linked. How changes in one part of the world will be felt around the planet. This Earth Day, we’re examining how we’re connected by Earth. It’s also an opportunity for learning experiences in a variety of STEM subjects .
Young students can, and do, make a big difference. As an educator, I have the opportunity to spark a passion in students that will drive them to do their part to take care of the Earth. Learning about SDGs give my students new ideas for how to protect the environment. It can open the door of possibilities for how to think about finding solutions to problems they can help solve.