The Target & Indicator Jigsaw Activity


A jigsaw activity is a cooperative learning strategy in which each student is assigned a “home” group (for example, one group studies Target 6.1: Safe and Affordable Drinking Water and another group studies Target 6.4: Increase Water-Use Efficiency and Ensure Freshwater Supplies) which they then research to become an “expert” in their assigned topic. After researching their own topic, students then share their specialized knowledge with a second group of students who were in different “home” groups so that students can learn from each other.

This is a formative assessment that requires that students can use the internet, or requires that the instructor download each of the target slide decks in the YEAH SDG module and share the slide deck with the associated group . This can be used as a combination homework and in-class activity or, depending on the policy of laptop use in the classroom, a completely in-class activity. 

Step 1: Give the full lecture associated with the SDG of interests.

Step 2: Break students into the same number of groups as there are targets for this SDG (or the number of targets you want the class to focus on). Then, have the students research their assigned target (via the internet and/or the associated target slide deck from the YEAH SDG module), and complete the first part of the assignment. This step can either be in class where students immediately organize into those groups or you can assign students to a target number and they can complete the first part of the assignment on their own for homework. 

Step 3: Students then come together in new groups with students who worked on different targets. In their new mixed groups students should teach each other about the different targets and work together to complete part 2 of the assignment.

The Assignment:

Part 1: In a group with other students who have been assigned the same target number as you [alternatively: On your own for homework], research your target and fill out the Part 1 of this assignment.

  1. Which target are you focusing on here? How does this relate back to the broader SDG we discussed in lecture?
  2. What are the indicators of your target? Explain how these indicators are used as metrics to track progress on this target.
  3. From the resources you explored, what are the current statistics regarding progress on this target and some of its indicators. Be sure to include specific measures or statistics in your answer.
  4. ADD YOUR OWN: Add a question relevant to the course content.

Part 2. In your new group of students who explored different targets, take turns explaining the target and indicators you each researched in part 1 of this assignment. Then answer the following questions:

  1. Which target did each group member have? For each target, which indicator for that target was the person who shared it most interested in and why?
  2. Together, find a real world example that relates to this SDG. Describe your example and how it is related to this SDG in 3-5 sentences. Then, in 3-5 sentences, discuss how this example relates to what we’ve learned in class, be sure to include specific course concepts.
  3. Lastly, each person should choose one indicator from the target they researched in their homegroup and discuss how it can be used to track progress in the example you described above.

Drawing-to-Learn Activity: Connecting your System to Human Activity


Drawing-to-Learn assignments are short formative assessments that help students engage with new concepts and think critically about how various parts of a system are linked. These are good in-class activities or short homework assignments and can be completed individually or in a group. 

Step 1: Ask students to take 1 piece of paper and fold it in half long ways. 

Step 2: On one half of the paper, ask students to draw the system you have been discussing (e.g. how dams work, ocean acidification, impacts of climate change on the landscape) on the other half of the paper have students draw one or multiple human activities that impact the system.

Step 3: Ask students to then add arrows, labels, and/or descriptions of how the human activity is impacting the system and how the system impacts human activity.

Step 4: Ask students to respond to 1-2 reflection questions.

Example: Eutrophication (SDG 6 water quality and nutrient run off)

On the right side of the paper ask students to draw the process of eutrophication (nutrient run off, algae and plant growth, loss of oxygen, death of animal life, etc.). Then on the left side of the paper ask students to draw the human activities that impact eutrophication (farming, fertilizing, etc.). Next ask students to connect these two activities with arrows and labels. Lastly, ask students  to answer the following prompt: 1) in 3-5 sentences explain how the human activities contribute to this process, and how this impacts the overarching goal of the SDG being studied (in this case, how does eutrophication impact SDG 6 – ensuring clean water and sanitation for all?) 2) In 3-5 sentences explain how the human activity needs to be modified in order to find a solution to this problem.

Course-Long Weekly Formative Assessments based on a Theme

This example includes a series of small formative homework assignments that are linked by a theme throughout the entirety of the course. This can be integrated into any course system (semester, quarter, block, etc) and the number of short assignments can be increased or decreased depending on how many weeks the instructor would like to fill. The goal is to help students connect the topic being taught to one or multiple SDGs and our broader system through a real-world current case study of their choosing.

The example provided here uses SDG 6, and therefore presums the topic of the course is related to clean water and sanitation, and follows a semester style course.

This activity is meant to be introduced relatively early in the course [in a 16-week semester somewhere between week 3- week 5] so that students can apply new material concepts to their case study as it is presented in class. The recommendation is that this activity is begins after the SDG of choice (or the first part of the SDG module sequence) is presented in lecture. 

Example Homework Assignments:

First week of activity Prompt: Find a region outside of your home country that you would like to focus on throughout this course. In one page, describe the region you chose, what you know about [the course topic in this region], and why you chose to research this region throughout this course.

In any given week where new material or concepts are introduced Prompt: Find an example of [that week’s/unit’s topic] in your region and write a half page describing the example you found and how it relates to this week’s/unit’s lecture. Make sure to discuss at least two specific concepts from this week’s/unit’s lecture and materials.

Compare to the SDG Prompt: Based on what you learned about SDG #, explore your region and see if you can find an example of work being done on one of the targets for SDG #. In one page describe the example you found, the target the example relates to, and the progress your region has made on achieving SDG #. [For this assignment, instructors can ask students to review the SDG target slides themselves or present the slides in class].

SDG Mapping Tool Prompt: 1) Go to this website and choose your country of interest. 2) Select the relevant SDG: From there, you can explore the target tree and press the arrow on the bottom right hand page to explore different data and figures. 3)  Answer: 1) How far along is the country you selected at achieving this SDG? To answer, review the progress toward each of the targets and report the data here. 2) For which targets does your country have data, and which ones does it not have data for? Why might obtaining data on certain targets be more difficult than for other targets? 3) Based on or using [topic from the course] how might they be able to improve progress for achieving this SDG?

Current Event in the News Prompt: Find a news story or example of work on SDG # in your country from the last 5 years. In a half page, answer the following: 1) What is the example and what is your source? 2) Would you consider this an example of successful or unsuccessful progress toward SDG #, why? 3) How does this example relate back to [class concept or topic]?

Scholarly Article Prompt: Find a scholarly article regarding [course topic OR SDG #] in your region. In one page provide the citation for your article and summarize the key take-a-ways of the article, describe how the research in this article relates to your region (i.e. was the research conducted there? Is some part of your region described in the study?), and what would you add to, or change about, this study if you were going to continue to study [course topic] in your region, and why?

SDG Map/Progress Tool Assignment


This is a formative assessment that can be an in-class group activity or a short homework assignment. This assignment should be given after the SDG of interest has been presented in lecture.

The Assignment:

  1. Ask students to go to this website and choose a country of interest (that is not their home country):
  2. Then, ask the students to explore the information available about the SDG of interest for the country they’ve chosen (via selecting their chosen country on the website, and then selecting the SDG).
  3. From there they can explore the target tree and press the arrow on the bottom right hand page to explore different data and figures.
  4. Ask them to answer 2-3 questions related to the course subject. For example: 1) How far along is the country you selected at achieving SDG #? To answer, review the progress toward each of the targets and report the data here. 2) For which targets does your country have data, and which ones does it not have data? Why might obtaining data on certain targets be more difficult than for other targets? 3) Based on or using [topic from the course] how might the country be able to improve progress for achieving SDG#? 4) Now explore your home country on the map, how does the first country you chose compare to your home country? 

Concept Mapping: Interlinkages Between SDG Targets and Your Subject


This is a formative assessment to help students draw connections between a variety of concepts and new material introduced. It is suggested that students complete this activity in weeks prior to any form of a summative assessment. This assignment can be done individually, in a pair, or in a small group of 3-4. This can be an in-class activity used as a study tool or a low-stakes homework assignment. This can be completed on a large piece of paper [if so, suggested this is provided in class with a variety of pens and markers in different colors] or this can be completed online in a format such as google slides, jamboard, or stormboard.

The Assignment:

Step 1: Begin with the relevant SDG # and definition at the center of your map.

Step 2: Add SDG#’s targets (one color for all targets) and indicators (one new color for all indicators) in their own bubbles to your map. Use lines and arrows to connect the targets and indicators you believe are related to or impact each other.

Step 3: Then, write or type above the connecting lines (or off to the side if you develop some sort of legend/key) a short explanation of how you think these targets and indicators are related to and/or impact each other.

Step 4: Now, integrate concepts from prior lessons. Choose a new color and begin to add bubbles that represent [different parts of the system/concepts recently taught] and draw lines showing how each of those parts of the system relate to and impact, or are impacted by, the various targets and indicators. Again, above the lines or to the side explain the connections.


Step 5: Lastly, if you are teaching other SDGs in this course, ask students to begin adding new bubbles for different SDGs (a different color for each SDG) and linking these SDGs to the targets and indicators in their map and to the components of the system/class concepts they’ve integrated into their map. For example, if the focus of the concept mapping was SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), but SDG 2 and SDG 9 were also introduced throughout the term, then some of the following connections could be included: SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) may in part be achieved through increasing irrigation in certain areas using dams or increasing groundwater pumping – however, this may impact Target 6.1 (Safe and affordable drinking water) if this increased irrigation results in the degradation of drinking water sources. Additionally, SDG 9 (Innovation and Infrastructure) is essential in developing solutions to water scarcity in various areas – i.e. building the infrastructure necessary to deliver freshwater to areas that do not already have a plentiful, clean, freshwater source.