The Smithsonian Science Education Center has developed “Sustainable Communities! How will we help our community thrive?” a new community research guide for youth ages 8-17. The guide, which is based on the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, aims to help young people explore how they can make a difference in their communities through topics such as inclusion, urban planning, housing, transportation, resource use and waste.
Throughout the guide, young people are introduced to a wide variety of perspectives, develop research skills and learn from real scientists from around the globe, while discovering the value of their existing knowledge and feelings about their communities. They are guided to understand different aspects of sustainable communities through scientific and social-scientific investigations, social-emotional learning opportunities and civic engagement activities. Finally, youth use what they know and have learned to decide and implement actions to make their communities better.
“As a global community we face many challenges that students have questions about—biodiversity loss, climate change, pandemics,” said Carol O’Donnell, director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center. “This community research guide encourages young people to discover, understand and act on questions about the roles that people, community spaces, housing, infrastructure, transportation and resources play in helping our communities thrive.”
The Smithsonian Science Education Center will share the information to youth worldwide in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership. The guide is free and can be found here. “Sustainable Communities! How will we help our community thrive?” is made possible through the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.