Lesson Plan: Teaching about the UN Sustainable Development Goals

As a High School or Undergraduate Economics or Social Sciences teacher, you can use this lesson plan to teach about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as outlined by the United Nations for nations to adopt and work towards, for a sustainable future.

This lesson plan will allow you to introduce the SDGs to your students, stress on their socio-economic importance and enable discussions on the efforts taken by governmental and non-governmental agencies of their nations towards achieving these goals. This lesson plan will also draw attention to how climate change may affect the efforts towards achieving the SDGs.
Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Economics or Social Sciences.


Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:

  1. What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
  2. What are your nation’s efforts towards meeting the SDGs?
  3. How is climate change intricately linked with sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs?

SDG Dashboard

About Lesson Plan

Grade Level High school, Undergraduate
Discipline Economics, Social Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sustainability
Development Economics, Urban Economics
Environmental Economics, Inclusive Society
Inequality, Societal Resilience, Poverty
Well Being, Justice, Gender Equality, and Climate Action
Climate Topic Policies, Politics and Environmental Governance
Energy, Economics and Climate Change
Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
Location Global
Language(s) English, A tool also available in French, German and Spanish
Access Online, Offline
Time Required
50 – 60 min



(~2 min)

A video to introduce sustainable development and the UN defined Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Go to the Video

Teaching Module (allocated time will vary according to the topic/s under consideration) A teaching module to teach the individual SDGs in detail, as per the topic in curriculum.

Go to the Resource

Teaching Module

(~35 min)

A summary of an IPCC report on global warming and a list of classroom tasks to emphasize the link between climate change and sustainable development. This reading is also available in French, German and Spanish.

Go to the Resource (pages 20-21)

Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.

Step 1: Topic introduction and discussion

Use the video, ‘What is sustainable development?’ by the United Nations (UN) to describe to your students, what sustainable development is and to define the different sustainable development goals (SDGs) as outlined by the UN.

Go to the video, ‘What is sustainable development?


Step 2: Develop the topic further

  1. Use the reading, ‘Sustainable Foundations- A Guide for Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals’ by the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC), for a detailed study of the individual SDGs and to highlight to your students the socio-economic importance of each one.
  2. Use the first 6 pages of the text as a user guide to this document and to note the points to highlight while teaching the SDGs.
  3. Then, select one or more SDGs for consideration and navigate to the relevant pages to teach about them in detail.
  4. Use the ‘Reflection and Action Questions’ within each section to assess student understanding and/or to encourage classroom discussion.

Go to the Resource


Step 3: Emphasize the link between climate change and the achievement of the SDGs

  • Use the reading, ‘IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.50 Summary for Teachers’ (pages 20-21) by Office for Climate Education (OCE), France, to explain to your students the link between global warming and attaining the SDGs. This reading is also available in French, German and Spanish.
  • Use the text to discuss with your students the relationship between population, economic growth and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Explain to your students climate change exacerbates poverty and in turn, a higher rate of population growth and the associated inequalities contribute greatly to global warming through increased GHG emissions.
  • Use the text to emphasize to your students that climate change can be detrimental for sustainable development, especially in developing countries and vulnerable regions.
  • Therefore, discuss how SDGs must be addressed in conjunction with the efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Finally, use the list of tasks on page 21, to encourage your students to discuss their country’s efforts towards addressing the SDGs in the context of climate change.

Go to the Resource (pages 20-21)