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Designing a Better Future with UN Sustainable Development Goals

Wildwood students are equipped with educational and social-emotional tools that prepare them for understanding complex, global challenges. To conclude the school year’s studies, sixth grade humanities students used the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) as a guide to practice “design thinking.” Design thinking is a non-linear/cyclical process by which students are able to explore, and propose solutions to, issues as yet unknown to them. 

In this unit, students used the five steps of the design thinking process (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test) to brainstorm innovative, yet practical, solutions to issues like poverty, hunger, gender inequality, and access to quality education. To begin, they researched organizations that currently work in these areas, and then created posters to further explain the issues and proposed solutions to their peers. Students gave and received thoughtful feedback, went back to the drawing board as needed to make alterations, and then created prototypes of their final ideas. The resulting solutions were innovative and imaginative, with proposals that included a “carbon cleaner” to reduce automobile emissions, sustainable pizza boxes, a free vending machine with supplies for the homeless, a button for people to ask for whatever help they might need, and more. Each proposed solution provided the opportunity to practice collaboration and respect for others’ opinions, while safely exploring bold solutions to the world’s big problems.

  • fall 2021