The United Nation’s sustainable development goals (UN SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Microscale chemistry kits already comply with many of the UN SDGs as they are greener, safer and more cost effective than traditional large-scale laboratory experiments. This qualitative study explored the value added for first-year chemistry students when the UN SDGs were integrated in a microscale experiment on industrial pollution: students were able to identify and explain relevant UN SDGS and communicate chemistry in context. Many students showed retention of the relevant UN SDGs two months after completing the experiment despite having no prior exposure to the UN SDGs. The majority of students felt that their laboratory experience was enriched by the inclusion of the UN SGDs, wished to learn more about the UN SDGs, and endorsed their inclusion as a graduate attribute.
Paper presented at the 29th Conference of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education: A Virtual Conference, 12–15 January, 2021..