Lesson Plan: Global Goals, Opinion Writing

“In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.”

This writing activity is based on the Global Goals that have been set out by the United Nations. Last week was Global Goals week – which had events, speeches and updates about the progress made on these goals, so far.

I try, whenever I can, to bring the real world into my classroom – I find it makes for more authentic learning and engagement. I have use the Global Goals as a starting point or formative assessment for opinion writing, essays or even simple paragraphs.

Lesson One: Global Goals and Opinion Writing Introduction: www.globalgoals.org
Curriculum Connections (could be extended):

Writing 1.3 – gather information to support ideas for writing, use a variety of strategies and a range of print and electronic resources

Writing 2.5 – identify their point of view and other possible points of view

Social Studies B1.1- explain why Canada participates in specific international accords and organizations

Minds On (15-20 mins):

I project the 17 Global Goals on the board, and have them explain what they think some of them mean, why they would be included or who they would be important to.

Then I encourage them to visit the Global Goals website, and to find out more information.

I ask them:

“Why are these 17 goals important?”

“Which one is the most important to you? Why?”

“What role is Canada and our government playing in these goals?”

“Which one seems to be the most difficult to achieve?”

“Do you think we will achieve them?”

They should work in pairs or small groups.

I have done this as an informal exploration, and I have sometimes provided a graphic organizer with specific information.

We come back together as a group and discuss some of their findings and justifications. This is where I can check for understanding.

Action (20 mins):

They will be writing an opinion piece about which Global Goal they think is the most important and why.

We briefly discuss some opinion phrases (“I think…because…”) and some strategies to prove your opinion is correct (including proof, expanding on points).

This is a formative writing assessment, so I am usually informal about expectations for punctuation etc. I want to see how they write – to direct our formal learning later.

They will spend the rest of this time working on a rough copy of their opinion writing.

Consolidate/Debrief (5-10 mins):

I like to bring the students back together to share what they’re thinking, things that they found on the website etc.

I also like to facilitate discussion:

“What can we do to help achieve these goals?”

“What is Canada doing?”

“What are other countries doing?”

 I will give them more class time to conference/peer edit and do a good copy before handing in their work.


Because this is a formative writing activity, I usually get students to peer edit and provide feedback. I will also provide written feedback, but not a formal mark.

Of course, you could certainly evaluate this in anyway that you’d like!

You could extend this topic into a variety of things; debates, social skills or inquiry projects. If it helps your students engage with their learning, and the world – I say do it!

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