TOOL: Sustainable Foundations: A Guide for Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals

 The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation is proud to present:

Sustainable Foundations: A Guide for Teaching the
Sustainable Development Goals


The Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the SDGs or Global Goals) are 17 goals that aim to transform the world. Adopted by world leaders in 2015 as a part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development from the United Nations, the SDGs are a framework for tackling poverty, inequalities, climate change, and sustainability.

The guide was designed with educators and students in mind! With a chapter on each goal, Sustainable Foundations helps readers understand the Global Goals in-depth with no previous knowledge or experience of the Global Goals, international development, or the United Nations needed!

Each chapter includes learning objectives, sections on who and what is affected by the Global Goals, what actions can we take as individuals, communities and nations, educational resources and case studies related to each goal.

The guide is available as a free, downloadable PDF or as a coiled book. 


Following the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals encourage everyone, everywhere to take action. Although not legally binding, the SDGs provide a guideline for governments, civil society, the private sector, and others to implement and act on sustainability for future generations around the world.

The 17 goals are framed by targets and indicators and although the goals are universal and inclusive, they can often seem overwhelming and complicated. We thought the same so we have developed a guide to understand and teach the Sustainable Development Goals.

GOALS chart

Framed by 17 goals with individual targets and indicators Although the goals are universal and inclusive, they can also be overwhelming. Not only do they require leaders and governments to take action but for their citizens to become aware and act sustainably as well.

In order to accomplish the goals by 2030, leaders, governments, and citizens need to act together to create sustainable change. This change can be seen in a number of different forms. It can look like policy changes on a federal level to cultures sharing knowledge and perspectives to schools enacting sustainability measures.


The guide provides clear information, educational resources, and other supports to help the reader in their effort to educate and engage young people so that they can support the Sustainable Development Goals and are inspired to turn their support into action.

The guide encourages educators to use their student’s energy and passion to create positive and sustainable change in our local and global community.


“Educators can nurture students’ curiosity and provide them with the tools and resources to inquire, understand, engage and communicate the importance of sustainability. This understanding empowers individual and collective action at the local, national and international levels.”


Sustainable Foundations was modeled after an inquiry approach; where learners are stimulated with questions and information about a particular issue to construct new knowledge and understanding.

The sections in each chapter are meant to inform educators about the main ideas, opportunities, and barriers behind each goal so they can facilitate an understanding for learners and give them an opportunity to inquire and explore the areas that are important to them.


“Topics covered by SDGs may be familiar or foreign to learners. Each section is intended to help learners understand the context and key stakeholders of each goal, while inviting them to include their own understanding through reflective prompts. Prompting students to investigate issues that are new or challenging to them will help them develop a relationship between themselves and the issues. Taking time to understand learner experiences and awareness through discussions and collaborative action will ensure this process remains learner-centric.”

In each chapter: 

  • Goal description and summarized targets
  • Learning Objectives and Curriculum Connections
  • The Big Questions (where did it begin, why does it matter, who and what are affected, what needs to be done)
  • Connections to the Other Goals and Consequences of Inaction
  • Reflection and Action Questions
  • Resources (how to take action, educational resources)
  • Case Studies

Each chapter in this guide summarizes the goal through its key targets, states learning objectives and provides curriculum connections. Also featured are sections titled “where did it begin?”, “why does this issue matter?”, “who and what are affected?”, and “what needs to be done?” to ensure users of the guide gain a comprehensive understanding of the goal and it’s surrounding issues.

goal 6, big questions

All 17 goals are complicated and tackle key systemic barriers to sustainable development. Within this is the idea that every issue and goal is interconnected, crossing over one another in a ‘matrix’ pattern. To help clarify this complexity, we have provided the sections “connection to the other goals”, “consequences of inaction”, and case studies that are based worldwide to help understand the complexity of these issues and relate them to other aspects of sustainability.

goal 11, case studies.PNG

Also included in each chapter are resources titled “how to take action” and “educational resources”. Take action items are catered towards each goal, inspiring students and educators to tackle sustainability challenges in their communities and abroad. They are anything from ‘host a documentary screening’ to ‘challenge key stakeholders’, ensuring that big and small actions are encouraged and celebrated. Educational resources include clickable links to specific lesson plans, educational and online games, and classroom activities.

goal 15, resources.PNG

goal 15, educational


If you are interested in attaining a copy, Sustainable Foundations is available to download for free from MCIC’s website or available as a coiled book for $60.00 CAD.

Download the guide for free OR order your copy through PayPal on the Sustainable Foundations webpage!

As a downloadable PDF, the guide is available as a complete 238 page document or by each individual goal, including the introduction and glossary.

The guide was developed by the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation with the financial support of the Government of Manitoba through Manitoba Education and Training and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

On the MCIC team, Keana Rellinger and Grace Van Mil developed the structure and researched content, Megan Redmond developed the design, Jane Mychasiw proofed the guide’s content, Monique Sereneo assisted with the design and everyone helped with copy editing. Outside of MCIC, Robin McGeough researched and wrote the first draft, Mitch Kruse helped with design and editing, Derek Hogue of Amphibian Design worked on website development, and R.H. Hamilton Media produced the Sustainable Foundation promotional video.


“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
Malala Yousafzai
Written by: Keana Rellinger

Posted in: Uncategorized

1 thought on “TOOL: Sustainable Foundations: A Guide for Teaching the Sustainable Development Goals Leave a comment

Leave a Reply