Social Studies

Earth in 100 Years- Grades 5-8 (45 minutes)

Related SDGs: All

Grade levels: 4-8


The impact of human activity on climate is becoming more and more visible each year. In this activity, students will visualize and hypothesize what they think the planet will look like in the future, and then will watch a video showing the conditions of our planet using our current statistics and rate of greenhouse gas emissions. If we do nothing to change our current way of life, this is what we can expect from our planet in 100 years.


  1. Students will have 15 minutes to draw a picture and write about what they think Earth will be like in 100 years. They can discuss what the environment will look like, the condition of the climate, or social and governmental policies.

  2. They will then share their ideas in groups of 4-5 and select which member they think has the most realistic prediction

  3. Groups will present their images and predictions to the rest of the class, using evidence to explain how and why this may come about

  4. After doing so, they will watch this video about Stephen Hawking's prediction as well as this video. You may also present this optional video about the prevention of climate change, if time allows.


  • Awareness of the reality of human actions to the Earth

  • Awareness of the rate at which humans are polluting the atmosphere

  • Forming a sense of urgency for the climate crisis

  • Discussing and proposing potential solutions

*thumbnail image from NASA

Calculating Your Ecological Footprint (30 minutes)

Related SDGs: Climate Action, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth

Grade levels: 3-8

Intro: The ecological footprint is a method promoted by the Global Footprint Network to measure human demand on natural capital, i.e. the quantity of nature it takes to support people or an economy. It tracks this demand through an ecological accounting system. This activity will show students how many Earths we would need if everyone in the world lived like them. It gives statistics and data to show how your daily actions impact the environment, and also explains what you can do to reduce your footprint.


  1. Have students take the Ecological Footprint quiz:

  2. After receiving their results, write down three specific things you will to change about your lifestyle to reduce your ecological footprint. For example, if someone had a high carbon footprint because of their meat consumption, they can write down that they will abstain from meat three days per week.


  • Understanding the environmental impacts of one's lifestyle

  • Setting goals to change your habits

*thumbnail image from

Calculating Your Water Footprint (45-60 minutes)

Related SDGs: Clean Water and Sanitation --> Good Health and Wellbeing --> Quality Education --> Decent Work and Economic Growth --> No Poverty (see this model)

Grade levels: 3-8

Intro: Ready to explore water footprints and learn more about your direct and virtual water use? In this lesson, you will learn about SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation. You will discover the effects of water scarcity and lack of sanitation on developing regions, and will connect it back to your own actions. By calculating your water footprint, you can learn about how your choices and habits affect your water use inside and outside of your home, through the food you eat, the products you buy and even the energy you use, and will get personalized instructions and recommendations on how to reduce your consumption!


  1. Present this video to the class via screen share or on the main projector. This will introduce SDG 6 and will provide a broad background and rationale about the importance of water conservation, while bringing awareness to global issues.

  2. Present this video. It provides a first-person perspective on the effects of the water crisis on girls in sub-saharan Africa. Have the students reflect on the video and compare it to their own experiences (e.g. how girls in rural areas have to walk for an hour to get water, while we have an abundance flowing from our taps).

  3. (optional; for grades 6-8) Present this video. It is slightly more assertive and delivers the urgency of the water crisis in developing Africa. Ask each student to share something new that they learned from the video.

  4. Have students calculate their water footprints using this quiz (15 minutes).

  5. After the quiz is complete, there will be a scroll-down menu that includes the analytics of their individual water usages. They will be able to see where the majority of their water footprint comes from, and by clicking the "tips" link on the right of each row, they will be directed to a page that explains more efficient alternatives, and what they can do in their own homes to preserve energy. Give them 15 minutes to scan through this.

  6. Before the end of class, have each student share one thing they will do to preserve water at home

  7. For further information, see


Before the end of class, have each student share one thing they will do to preserve water at home (e.g. avoid meat with my family three days a week).

Further Takeaways/Ways to Take Action:

  • Reduce your water footprint by leaving taps off and limiting your meat consumption

  • Donate to non-profit organizations

  • Educate your peers

*thumbnail image from

Climate Solutions: Designing a Product!- Grades 5-8 (15-45 minutes)

Related SDGs: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Affordable and Clean Energy

Grade levels: All

Intro: In this activity, students will use their knowledge of environmental problems, science, and creativity to design their own product that can help the world in some way. It may be an appliance, a machine, or a city layout! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Compost system

  • Air freshener

  • Grey water irrigation system layout

  • Recycled fashion

  • Biofuel vehicles (cars, trucks, bikes, or anything you can imagine!)

  • Planting/Harvesting machine

  • Smart lighting

  • Sustainable city blueprint (with labels and details on how the system functions in terms of energy, roads, safety, and education)


  1. Students will create a drawing of their own sustainable product. Encourage them to think creatively, and make sure to add color and labels!

  2. They may also wish to consider a suitable price for the product and advertising tactics

  3. At the end of class, they will present their plans and advertise their product to the rest of the class, explaining how it functions, and what makes it sustainable


  • Creative thinking and problem solving

  • Navigating potential solutions to climate change

  • Introduction to product design, advertising, and brand purpose

Climate Solutions: Designing a Home!- Grades 5-8 (15 - 45 minutes)

Related SDGs: Sustainable Cities and Communities; Affordable and Clean Energy; Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Grade levels: All

Intro: In this activity, each student will use their knowledge of environmental problems and sustainable energy to design their dream house that is efficient and may reduce carbon emissions. It may be a suburban home, a backyard, a van, a building, or an entire city!

Example #1

Example #2

Example #3

Example #4

(No need to watch all of them, but students may use them for reference if they so wish.)


  1. Students will create a drawing or blueprint of their own sustainable home. Encourage them to think creatively, and make sure to add color and labels! Here are some ideas for facilities to include:

  • Solar panels

  • Energy efficient air-conditioner replacement

  • Grey water system

  • Compost system

  • Garden

  • Construction material (recycled wood, concrete, eco-bricks, etc)

  • They may also wish to consider a suitable price for the product and advertising tactics

  1. At the end of class, they will present their plans and advertise their house to the rest of the class, explaining how it functions, and what makes it sustainable


  • Creative thinking and problem solving

  • Navigating potential solutions to climate change

  • Introduction to product design, advertising, and brand purpose

Mini-Debate (15-90 minutes)

Related SDGs: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions + any other SDG depending on the chosen prompt

Grade levels: 2-8

Intro: Debates are a staple of middle and high school social studies classes. But have you ever thought about using debates at the lower grades? In this lesson, you will utilize a four-corners strategy where students will respond to specific topics, and then debate why they agree on a certain stance. This will allow students to verbalize their opinions, while integrating new viewpoints, to arrive at a logical consensus.


  1. Label the corners of the room: strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree

  2. Have the students start in the middle of the room. You may have as many rounds as necessary or that may fit in the allotted class period; each round will have a different prompt:

Grades 2-5:

  • Zoos are good

  • Parks are good

  • Trees should be cut down in order to build new buildings

  • All races are treated equally

  • It is everyone's responsibility to use sustainable energy

  • Climate change needs governmental support to be solved

Grades 6-8:

  • The Philippines has strong policies regarding climate change

  • The Philippines has strong policies regarding ocean pollution

  • The wealth gap in the world is fair

  • Socialism is the solution to poverty

  • The minimum-wage should be increased

  • There should be a fishing ban

  • Capitalism is sustainable

  • Consumerism contributes positively to the economy

  • Consumerism contributes positively to the climate crisis

  • Filipino elections should be held every four years instead of every six years

  • The Philippines has done a good job responding to the Covid-19 pandemic

  • The term "all lives matter" is derogatory towards minorities

  • It is more important to protest for rights than to stay home and self-isolate

  • More money in the government should be allocated to sustainable policies and diplomacy

  1. Each student will go to a corner of the room based on their opinion about the prompt. The four groups will discuss, and one representative from each stance will share their reason for picking their side. Students may change views based on other groups' rationales, and groups may debate and build off of each other's arguments.

  2. Each group will discuss amongst themselves, and will agree on a policy to implement in order to help solve the problem according to their views. One representative from each group will share their policy.

  3. Groups will debate the best policy, and change theirs in order to have a more democratic an sustainable solution


  • Understanding global issues

  • Learning about policy-making and the legislative branch of government

  • Integrating different viewpoints and embracing empathy

  • Constructing positive global solutions

Black Lives Matter- Grades 5-8 (30-45 minutes)

Related SDGs: Reduced Inequalities

Grade levels: 4-8

Intro: Note to parents and educators: This topic seeks to address common questions children might have about the current Black Lives Matter protests in response to the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans. Because it describes racist violence, please preview the movie before watching it with young children. Please read this blog before teaching this lesson.

You might have been hearing about huge demonstrations in cities across the country and around the world. The protests are in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Black Lives Matter” is both a rallying cry at the protests and a human rights organization that demands an end to violence against Black people in America. It began in 2013 when three Black activists, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, used the hashtag after Trayvon Martin's killer went unpunished. It became a mass protest movement in 2014 when Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. It has continued to fight against structural racism and its effects in our society. Press “play” to learn how uniting in protest can help end injustice in our democracy.


  1. Discuss as a class what students have heard about protests and the Black Lives Matter movement

  2. Watch this BrainPOP video as a class

  3. Take this quiz as a class


Discuss as a class what students have learned. Brainstorm ways for them to protest and make their voices heard. This should be an in-depth conversation, and teachers should monitor to ensure that students come to mature conclusions.

Sustainable Leaders! Grades 5-8 (20 minutes)

Related to: *Possibly all SDG goals (depending on how creative you get)

Intro: Leaders that support sustainability build and restore ecosystems that encourage broad-based quality improvement. They help people adapt and thrive in increasingly dynamic environments by allowing them to benefit from one another's diverse behaviors.


1) Create a PowerPoint and research 3, sustainable leaders, that you are interested in.

2) Include information regarding who they are, what they do, how they inspire others, etc.

3) Share your findings in breakout rooms of three!


  • Students recognize the importance and value of sustainable leadership

  • Students broaden their horizons by learning about a variety of leaders

Life cycle assessment (Lca) Grades 5-7 (40 minutes)

Related SDGs: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production

Grade Levels: 5-7

Intro: The life cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool for assessing environmental impacts of a product including processing of raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, service, recycling and final disposal. Students will be able to learn and explore the influence of everyday products on our environment, society, and economy, linking to the sustainability compass.


  1. Get into groups of 3-4 and research on the life cycle of one product, creating a simple LCA diagram and make sure to answer these questions:

  • How does (product chosen) impact our environment, society and economy?

  • How does our usage of these products impact the lives of people?

  1. With the same group members, assign a career or any person involved within the phase of a LCA of a product


  • Production: farmers, factory workers

  • Distribution: Truck drivers

  • Use: consumers

  • Waste: waste collector

  1. Create a short narrative describing a day in the life of their career while considering how their work interacts with each other and the society in terms of economic, environmental, and social aspect

  2. Share with the class and discuss their understandings of the concept!


  • Students are able to utilize the LCA methodology and identify human activities within them.

  • Understand the impacts of commercial products in the environment, society and economy.

  • Understand different jobs and working conditions for employees involved in the LCA