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Curriculum Level: 9-12

By Jennifer Nichols from Cox Mill High School

OVERVIEW OF LESSON: After identifying a country in the Spanish-speaking world and the environmental, cultural, and other important impacts caused by tourism, students will identify connections to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students will explain the impacts of tourism, both positive and negative, and propose current solutions that are in place to currently address problems caused by tourism in a final product of their choice. Students will also propose additional measures to positively affect change for sustainable tourism.


SUBJECT: Spanish II – Classes are 90 minutes M-F, semester long/block schedule


World Language Essential Standards 

NM.CLL.4.1: Compare basic cultural practices of people in the target culture and the students’ culture.

NM.CMT.4.1: Recognize aspects of the target culture and language in the students’ culture and language. 

NM.CMT.4.2: Identify products made and used by members of the target culture and the students’ culture.


  • What is ‘sustainable tourism’?
  • What are pressing problems or challenges caused by tourism in the chosen country?
  • What steps have been taken to alleviate the negative impact tourism is having?
  • What role do the SDGs play in this situation?
  • What other options can be included to help create sustainable tourism?


  1. Students will be able to identify positive and negative impacts of tourism and sustainable tourism and their effects on a Spanish-speaking country. 
  2. Students will be able to see connections between multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  3. Students will be able to discover global connectivity and delve into how the chosen country is working to repair the impacts of tourism. They will share this information with a global audience.
  4. Students will be able to make connections between real-world events and the human interaction as related to the political, social, economic, and environmental impact of tourism.



For each section of the research process, the teacher circulates through the groups, checking their readiness for the next step. Student benchmarks set the expectations and accountability in student friendly language as “I can” statements. A handout with a rubric of all the “I can” statements can be provided to students so that they can prepare for these benchmark conversations (see below).

Days 1-2

Discussion Opener and Warm Up:  Provide an overview and lead a discussion on the SDGs with student in-put. Ask students if they have heard of the SDGs or if they have worked with SDGs in other classes. Ask students to define (in their own words), ‘sustainability’, or to provide an example of what they think it means.

Ask students about their travel experiences and how they think tourists and tourism negatively and positively impact local areas. Have students read:

Define ‘Sustainable Tourism’ – The UN World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

Guided Practice: The teacher will share resources (see list below) to introduce the multi-faceted impacts on tourism and the economic need for tourism throughout the Spanish-speaking world. The class will compare the need versus want and cost/benefit/impact of tourism to humans, animals, and the environment.

Teacher assigns small groups (scaffold by ability level; differentiate based on product interest and learning style). In their groups, students choose a Spanish-speaking country to research and choose a tourism sector to focus on.

Day 3

The teacher circulates through the groups to check progress and for signs of readiness to move to the next step of the research process.

Guided Practice: Using the resources provided in the lesson, students will research their chosen Spanish-speaking country and tourism’s negative impacts, such as pollution, overcrowding, habitat loss, financial gain versus loss, etc.

Students will also research SDGs and make connections between global goals and the negative impacts of tourism in the selected country.

Student Benchmark: When the research team can pose a researchable question on a local or regional issue and can explain its significance to the global community, they are ready to move forward.

Days 4-5

Students will continue their research and will focus on problems and solutions, citing multiple, reputable sources to support their researchable question.

Students will include local perspectives, as well as tourist perspectives in their research.

Students will provide multiple points of impact that tourism has on local environs, both negative and positive (if applicable).

Student Benchmark: When students select and use multiple international and domestic sources to identify relevant evidence that addresses a global question, they are ready to move forward.

Student Benchmark: When students can explain the perspectives of other people, groups, or individuals as distinct from one’s own perspective and can Identify and describe how perspectives affect how people interpret and respond to situations, events, issues, or phenomena, they are ready to move forward.

Student Benchmark: When students can assess options and plan actions based on evidence and the perceived potential for impact, they are ready to move forward.

Days 6-7

Independent Practice: Students will compile key points from their research to create a final product of their choice that will include:

  • Tourism location and overview of tourism impact
  • SDG(s) related to problem
  • Actions taken to address issue(s)
  • Student suggestions on how to effect change to create sustainable tourism

Guided Question: What new solution(s) do you propose to help address the problem you have identified in your chosen country? How attainable is your solution? What additional impact (financial, environmental, other) will your solution have?

Student Benchmark: When students select and apply appropriate resources, such as technology and media, to communicate and collaborate with a range of diverse individuals, as well as answer the guided question they are ready to present their project.

Days 8-9

Students present to a global audience




School Research Sites (media center webpage)

SDG sites


A Costa Rican smallholding etches out the steps to sustainable coffee growing. National Geographic. (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2023, from costa-rican-sustainable-coffee-growing

Christ, C. (2021, May 3). 6 ways to be a more sustainable traveler. Travel. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from

Christ, C. (2021, May 3). Slovenia is the world’s most sustainable country. Travel. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from

Heggie, J. (2022, July 5). Five ways big brands can source materials more sustainably. Environment. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from five-ways- big-brands-can-source-materials-more-sustainably

Heggie, J. (2021, May 3). Mexico: Bringing sustainable development goals to life. Science. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from development-goals-to-life

Heggie, J. (2021, May 4). Spain: Taking sustainable energy to the next level. Science. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from sustainability

National Geographic. (2021, May 3). Can local sustainable development save the Amazon? Environment. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from sustainable-development-save- the-amazon

Staff, N. G. (2021, May 3). 12 ways to travel sustainably in the New Year. Travel. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from