Smithsonian Science for Global Goals
Smithsonian Science for Global Goals is a new freely available curriculum developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) in partnership with the InterAcademy Partnership. It uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to focus on sustainable actions that are student-defined and implemented.
The Smithsonian Science Education Center, attempting to empower the next generation of decision makers capable of making the right choices about the complex socio-scientific issues facing human society, blends together previous practices in Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE), Social Studies Education (SSE), Global Citizenship Education (GCE), and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
Smithsonian Science for Global Goals modules are:
- Developed to be region- and grade-level-agnostic, meaning that teachers across the world teaching students from ages 8-17 will be able to engage in this material
- Field-tested and reviewed by subject matter experts, teachers, and students from around the world
- Available in multiple languages
- Freely available on the Smithsonian Learning Lab, a digital tool, that allows all students around the world, regardless of background or national origin, to access the world-class educative materials
- An opportunity to learn first-hand from researchers working on the problem from around the world
- Engages students in inquiry-based experiences in their local community
- Presenting the problem through multiple perspectives (social, ethical, economic, environmental).
- Built on a rich storyline that begins with students creating an Identity Map and Defining the Problem, and ends with the development of an Action Plan.
Image: United Nations
Dr. Carol O'Donnell's article, "Science Education, Identity, and Civic Engagement: Empowering Youth through the UN Sustainable Development Goals," was featured in "G7: The Executive Talk Series Global Briefing Report" for the 44th G7 Summit. See page 108 for the full article.
Smithsonian Science for Global Goals
The Learning Progression
Image: Smithsonian Science Education Center
- Combines key pieces of Inquiry-based Science Education and Social Studies Education to build a progression that takes students from questioning and investigating up through taking action in their own communities.
- The center portion – Critical Reasoning and Systemic Understanding – is the tie that binds. Armed with their new scientific understanding of the complex issue, this is where students examine their own values and perspectives on the issue, how that influences their local and global thinking, and then how their perspective changes as they learn more and more about the world around them.
- Learning teams use their understandings to find common ground, build consensus, and plan and carry out local actions for Global Goals.
Through Smithsonian Science for Global Goals we hope to “engage and inspire” more students and teachers, “where they are, with greater impact, while catalyzing critical conversations on issues affecting our nation and the world."
An investment in the Smithsonian Science Education Center helps to advance our efforts in transforming science education. Your support has the potential to change hundreds of thousands of lives by nurturing the inner scientist in young people—tomorrow’s innovators and leaders.
Tentative Topics for Smithsonian Science for Global Goals
|Module Title||Potential Subtopics||Sustainable Development Goals Target Alignment|
|Nutrition: How do we ensure healthy diets for all? (planned)||Malnutrition, obesity, nutritional needs, food sources/pathways, health implications, connection between nutrition and human development, varying nutritional needs (e.g., pregnant women and children)||
2.2 • 3.4 • 12.3
|Water: How do we balance fair water use for all?||Safe water, equitable access, water use efficiency, water and border issues, water scarcity, role of technology, water law||
6.1 • 6.3 • 6.4 • 6.5 • 6.6 • 6.A • 6.B
|Energy: How do we balance access to energy and environmental concerns?||Equitable access, appropriate use, economic considerations, implications for increased access, connection to climate change, clean/dirty energy, renewables||
1.4 • 7.1 • 7.A • 7.B
|Healthy Ecosystems: How do we balance local ecosystem needs with global implications?||Analysis of local ecosystems, ecosystem issues (particularly those caused by humans), mitigating actions, ecosystem services, deforestation/desertification (as applicable)||
15.1 • 15.2 • 15.3 • 15.4 • 15.5 • 15.6 • 15.7 • 15.8 • 15.9
|Sustainable Cities: How can we create healthier, happier cities?||Urban planning, infrastructure, upgrading housing, sanitation, pollution, watershed/impervious surfaces, sociological issues in cities, wellness-inspired architecture, green spaces||
9.1 • 9.4 • 11.1 • 11.2 • 11.3 • 11.6 • 11.7 • 11.A
|Humans and the Atmosphere: How do we balance human needs with impact on the atmosphere?||Causes and impacts of climate change, acid rain/ocean acidification, impacts and possible technological (partial) solutions||
13.1 • 13.2 • 13.3 • 13.B • 14.3 • 15.2 • 15.3
|Pollution, Environment, and Health: How do we protect human health and ecosystems?||Water pollution, sanitation issues, hazardous runoff, industrial pollution, solid waste management (landfills), plastic pollution||
3.9 • 6.2 • 6.3 • 6.6 • 8.4 • 11.6 • 12.4 • 12.5 • 14.1
|Weather and People: How do we balance economics and preparation?||Impacts of extreme weather on agriculture, housing, cities, impacts of ocean level rise, causes of extreme weather, using technology to prepare for disasters (earthquakes, floods, tsunami, mudslides, wildfires, etc.), community emergency preparedness||
1.5 • 2.4 • 11.B • 11.C • 13.1 • 13.3 • 13.B • 15.3
|Biotechnology and Humans: How do we balance technology, actions, and ethics?||Antimicrobial resistance, genome editing in humans, GMO agriculture, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies, access to drugs and IPR||
2.3 • 2.5 • 3.2 • 3.3 • 3.4 • 3.7 • 10.3
|Biodiversity: How do we balance protecting Earth’s diverse resources with human needs?||Need for diverse plants to respond to changing weather conditions, finding novel medical cures in biodiverse areas, economic impacts for protecting biodiverse-rich areas, farming practices and impacts on biodiversity (e.g., everyone using the same seeds, GMOs), livestock biodiversity, endangered animals||
2.5 • 2.A • 14.2 • 15.1 • 15.2 • 15.5 • 15.6 • 15.7 • 15.8 • 15.9
|Agriculture: How do we balance production, economics, and the environment?||Food pathways, food waste, agricultural practices and the environment, impacts of extreme weather, GMOs, land ownership, technology and farming, agriculture financing||
2.3 • 2.4 • 2.A • 2.C • 12.3
|Pandemic: How do we prepare for a pandemic?||Possibilities of and responses to global pandemic, institutional and individual roles in prevention and response, causes of pandemic and local practices||
3.3 • 3.D
|Consumption and Production: How do we balance economic and environmental needs?||Equitable and sustainable use of natural resources, systemic power differentials, materialism, environmental and economic impacts of consumption||
12.1 • 12.2 • 12.5 • 12.8 • 12.A
|Cultural Practices, Equity and Health: How do we balance self-determination, health, and human rights?||Child/forced marriage, body image, stereotyped gender roles, gender-based violence, women in STEM||
4.5 • 5.3 • 5.4 • 5.A • 10.2 • 10.3 • 16.1
|Access: How do we balance supports for individuals with different needs?||Technology, access to education, role of the government and individuals, economic impacts||
4.5 • 4.A • 8.5 • 10.2 • 10.3
|Development and the Oceans: How do we balance today’s needs with tomorrow’s goals?||How humans interact with the oceans and coastal areas, the effects of those interactions and an analysis of the sustainability, pollution, fisheries||
14.1 • 14.2 • 14.3 • 14.4 • 14.5 • 14.A
|*All topics align to targets 4.7 • 16.7 • 17.6 • 17.17||Read More on Target Alignments|