Science teacher Mr. Sean Robinson has brought innovation to Riverside Secondary in many ways, but on a trip from October 16 to October 21, he got the chance to help more than the local community. Robinson went to a leadership summit in Qatar on behalf of a Global Goals United Nations group. He is focused on SDG5 (sustainable development goal five), which is gender equality.

Robinson introduces the “Global Goals Educator Task Force” to his audience. The “task force” is steadily growing, now with over 50 members.

Since beginning at Riverside, Robinson has never shied away from integrating global initiatives with a well-rounded education (ex. collaborative work to bring lanterns to the Dominican Republic and Skype-ins with planetary scientists). In fact, he shared a lot of that teaching through social media, which led to joining a group of humanitarian initiatives. The group, called “The Global Goals Educator Task Force” is affiliated with the United Nations. The UN’s hope is to have these grassroots initiatives slowly start up around the world. Robinson states how the group’s goal is to think as to how they get global goals to be incorporated into K-12 classes. “The hope is to make global goals a part of everything we do, to become globally aware. It’s not just for science,” said Robinson.

Robinson is one of 17 “Task Force” members who were able to join the dozens of presenters at the conference in Qatar. There, he got to join a panel that shared about the global goals in different areas of expression (through comics, social media, education, etc.) In the next part of the conference, he explained how students have been engaging in the global goals and what they’re doing to help. He also presented several stories about incredible students as young as eight years old from around the world who have been working on the global goals as well. His third presentation was on gender equality. The audience was shown people such as Miriam, an activist in west Africa.

West African activist, Miriam, describes the inequalities girls face in Sierra Leone, Africa.

He pre-recorded Skype video chats to present, showing Miriam giving her perspective on gender equality in Sierra Leone: “There’d be ten girls that come in a school of 50 kids, but by the end of the year, there would only be six left because four were either married and/or pregnant.” Miriam works hard to inspire girls to believe they can be equal to or better than boys and tries to provoke that cultural shift. A female campaigner from Yemen, the country with the worst gender inequality, was also presented.

The project is integrated into Robinson’s science classes by giving his students an opportunity to brainstorm and make a connection. He brings his curriculum together by teaching about sustainable development goal 13, climate change. He teaches about the biosphere, the hydrosphere, geosphere and the atmosphere, but teaching about the global goals and the spheres have a way of working together. He finds that his students are very willing to participate.

The hope is to make global goals a part of everything we do, to become globally aware. It’s not just for science.
– Mr. Sean Robinson

His students previously made a connection with the Dominican Republic through a project. Solar lanterns designed by Science and Tech, as well as Science 9 students were sent to Macedonia and Kenya after Riverside teacher, Mr. Abraham Kang made a visit to the Dominion Republic. Kang became involved in the project after Robinson approached him and asked if he wanted to collaborate, since Science and Tech is a hands-on class. Together, classes made solar powered and solar rechargeable lanterns. They were encased in a 3D printed housing designed and printed by Riverside students, but based off a design that Robinson got from a school in Colorado. The lanterns were developed to help resolve light poverty. “You want to make the things that you’re creating with other people, you want to make that available to everyone around,” said Robinson. His goal, ultimately, is to help students recognize global issues and integrate the search for those solutions into academic curriculums.