Lesson Plans – Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Are Human Rights Universal?
Source: HRE USA
Using hypothetical examples, students will discuss the concept of universal human rights and their personal thoughts and opinions on the issues. Students will be asked to read or listen to various news articles about the topics, conduct their own research, and prepare notes for a discussion. The purpose is to use current and personal examples in order to engage students in the discussion of human rights.

Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies

I Have a Right to …
Source: BBC World Service
A collection of case studies that illustrate specific human rights with contemporary examples.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies, current events, geography

Educating for Human Dignity: Learning about Rights and Responsibilities
Author: Betty Reardon,  Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
It is the first resource offering both guidance and support materials for human rights education programs from kindergarten through high school. It opens possibilities for an holistic approach to human rights education that directly confronts the values issues raised by human rights problems in a context of global interrelationships. Designed for both teachers and teacher educators.
Grade Level: Adults, educators, teacher educators

Fundamental Freedoms: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Source: Facing History and Ourselves
Curriculum including primary documents, connecting questions to stimulate discussion, photographs, maps, political cartoons.
Grade Level: high school

Getting Ready to Learn about Human Rights
Source: Expeditionary Learning, 2013
Two-lesson unit that engages in a close reading and paraphrase of key UDHR Articles so that all words and concepts are understood.
Grade Level: upper elementary
Subject Area: social studies, language arts

Going Global – Investigating Global Issues of Interest and Importance
Source: HRE USA
In this independent research project, students focus on areas of interest to them based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and then study a location that is a hotbed of violations of their chosen human right. The long-term study culminates with a structured presentation of their topic with the intent to raise awareness of Human Rights issues and the intent of proposing a potential solution utilizing specific problem-solving steps..
Grade Level: middle school
Subject Area: social studies

Human Rights Here and Now: Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Publisher: Amnesty International, University of Minnesota Human Rights Center, The Stanley Foundation, 1998
Full curriculum that provides an introduction to the UDHR and human rights and human rights education, lesson plans, activities for taking action, and a human rights glossary.
Grade Level: middle – high school

Human Rights: Whose Rights Are Right?
Source: Global Perspectives
Engages students in aspects of “rights” guaranteed to all human beings. Compares and contrasts rights as they exist in various global documentary sources and discusses their relevance and application in contemporary situations.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies

Our World, Our Rights
Source: Amnesty International USA
Full curriculum that introduces young children to the UDHR. Includes classroom activities, stories, case studies, action opportunities and a list of additional resources.
Grade Level: elementary school
Subject Area: social studies

Rights Auction
Source: Close Up Foundation
Compares and evaluates US Constitutional Rights and human rights in the UDHR.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies, government

Teaching Human Rights
Author: David Shiman
Publisher: Center for Teaching International Relations, 1993
The UDHR provides a useful framework for organizing this collection of curriculum activities on human rights. Can serve either as the core on human rights or a resource from which teachers can draw specific activities to integrate into existing curricula.
Price: About $30
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, government

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Poster Set and Educator’s Guide
Publisher: Amnesty International USA
12-lesson plans with posters that introduce the UDHR and explore key human rights issues: discrimination, slavery, arbitrary arrest, presumption of innocence, asylum, marriage, living wage, work, religion, assembly, participation.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, government

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Resource Collection
Source: Facing History and Ourselves
Ten sequential lessons that cover topics such as the historical context, values, and negotiations that underlie the UDHR, the meaning of “rights,” the future of human rights.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies, government 

The UDHR & Contemporary Issues
Source: HRE USA
This lesson asks students to correlate the UDHR to current newspaper articles which illustrate the portrayal of human rights in one of four situations (rights achieved, rights denied, rights violated, rights in conflict). Students will explain that situation, the correlation to the UDHR, and then write a reflection on the role of the UDHR in potentially resolving the situation.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies

Using Inquiry-Based Research to Highlight Contemporary Human Rights Challenges
Source: HRE USA
Students will be introduced to the concept of Human Rights and tasked with finding how they are still applicable to our world today. This series of lessons will begin with a general introduction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this, students will design their own questions about what human rights abuses may still be occurring today. The lesson will culminate in students creating an infographic, which will then be shared with the class.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies

Where Do You Stand?
Publisher: Amnesty International
Lesson plan with interactive game that explores the meaning and scope of “human rights” and introduces the UDHR with an interactive game.
Grade Level: high school
Subject Area: social studies, government

The World as It Could Be
Publisher: The World as It Could Be
Full curriculum that uses the creative arts to deepen learning about the UDHR and provide opportunities for the youth to, in turn, teach their peers and adults about the importance of manifesting the words of the UDHR.  Lesson plans are designed to encourage a progression of learning that starts with objective knowledge, moves to personal connection to both human rights concepts and issues, and then engagement to play a role in advancing UDHR principles.
Grade Level: middle – high school
Subject Area: social studies, language arts, drama, music

A World at Peace
Source: PBS
In this lesson students to brainstorm the basic rights of people everywhere, explore in basic terms the UDHR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and then use international photography galleries as part of a multimedia creative writing assignment imagining a world at peace.
Grade Level: elementary school
Subject Area: social studies