Life on Land

At the start of the new decade a time of reflection swept the world and global goals shaped many of these moments, particularly with the devastating fires sweeping Australia. 10 years ago though, the United Nations replaced the “Millennium Goals” with the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

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All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate our students on these global issues.

But how might we tackle such huge topics with the youngest children in our schools?

Kristi Meeuwse and I designed a series of a lessons around plants, animals and people which might help teach towards some of these global goals. Let’s start this blog series by exploring lesson ideas which can support Goal 15: Life on Land.

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Goal 15 sets targets to sustainably manage forests in order to protect wildlife, combat climate change, preserve indigenous communities and maintain natural resources.

There are 3 books in the ‘Young Children Can Create… a better planet’ series and each book contains activities to use drawing, photography, video and music. These creative mediums help young children to capture their world and make decisions about their environment or learn about other habitats.

Here are some examples of activities to help young children engage with Goal 15: Life on Land.


Book 1: Plants

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This photography activity takes children outdoors with their cameras to capture the life on land in their locality. Using simple mark-up tools built in to iPad, children can sketch and annotate their work on location. This activity is one of the first in the lesson series and is designed to teach knowledge about plants but also reconnect children to the outdoors by looking closely and observing.

Each lesson is complemented with further curriculum integration ideas to help you make the sustainable development goals and technology opportunities part of your existing curriculum.


Book 2: Animals

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Visiting far away places to observe other plants and animals is not possible with young children. But teaching them about these habitats can be achieved through art and photography. Later in the Animals book children use will their drawings as backgrounds for video animations. They use animal shapes and music to create representations of habitats as a way of connecting with other places in the world.


Book 3: People

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Let children ask questions with local stake holders to find out how life on land is managed in their community. What action could you take as a class to act on the targets for your community?


There are plenty more ideas to use photography, drawing, video and music tools to help teach about the Life on Land goal with your young learners. Taking cameras outdoors and capturing evidence on a litter walk is another of my favourites from Book 3: People.

All of the work that children complete in these lessons can be saved and organised in a Learning Journal:

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The download link for the Learning Journal is available in the books and instructions on how to use the journal, and all of the apps included in the planning, is included in the books too. Download the books below:

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Book 1: Plants                               Book 2: Animals                     Book 3: People

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