Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals through Data Visualization


Infographics are one of the various data visualizaiton tools that I frequently use in my classes. I love infographics because they help my students understand and easily remember information (read my post here where I talk about the picture superiority effect). It is also relatively easy to find an infographic with the information you want, but if you can’t find one, you can always create your own using sites such as Canva, Easel.ly or Piktochart. There are even infographics that explain what an infographic is!



At the moment, I am preparing to launch a year-long project where my Grade 6 students will explore the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a result of their inquiry, the students will choose one or two goals to advocate for and take action within our school community. As I am putting together the resources that I will make available for the students to use, I have been looking for relevant infographics. Below are two of those infographics.


17 signs that our world is changing for the better 



I choose this infographic for two distinct reasons. First, after getting acquainted with the 17 goals and their rationale, I would like the students to see that, although there is still a long way to go, the world has already made lots of improvements towards achieving the goals. In addition, this infographic will also help them come to the realization that things can be better and bad at the same time (inspiration from Hans Rosling’s Factfulness – everybody should read this book!). The other reason why I chose this particular infographic is its design. Without much effort, the readers can locate information about individual goals by their number on the map and the image next to it, and then look for their corresponding details below the map. The sources listed in the infographic will also provide further reference material for the students.



By localizingthesdgs.org


This will be one of the sources that I will use as an example of how people around the world have been advocating for and/or taking action on the SDGs. This infographic offers succinct information on an event organized in Belarus in 2016. The SDGs logo is purposefully used as the wheels in the bicycle and so are its colours in the pie chart, which help the students make an immediate connection between the event and the SDGs. This infographic also models a possible way in which the students could choose to advocate for their goal, by making an infographic to be shared with other students. Another reason for using this infographic, is for the students to explore the website it comes from, as it has plenty of information about how people in different parts of the world are actively engaging with the SDGs.

Two other tools of data visualization that the students will use during this project are the 2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals and the Interactive 2018 SDG Dashboards. Both of these tools provide access to a wealth of data related to the SDGs, all presented in a visual, interactive way.

I am very much looking forward to launching this project and finding out how the students will respond to it.

Featured image by congerdesign on Pixabay

4 thoughts on “Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals through Data Visualization

  1. I am intrigued by the idea of a year long SDG lesson. I also try to teach my students about the SDGs and try to integrate them into my teaching, however a year long focus would be great especially as a way to build in action. The infographics you chose are simple yet effective and help the reader understand what the SDGs are all about.


  2. I am so excited to read so many posts this week that mention the SDGs and give a shout out to Hans Rosling. The “17 signs” infographic is a great image to share with your students for its readability and message. I am intrigued by the idea of being better and bad and have just added Rosling’s book to my reading list – thank you! Also, I really like how you are linking back to previous posts!


  3. Hi Lina, great choice of infographic for the SDGs. As you said, it makes it so easily understandable, especially with the numbers. I also like the positivity of the post. That it is not just an aspiration but that it is actually happening and doable. That making the world a better place is actually possible. All the best for your inquiry and hope to read about your progress!


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