The class will begin with a comprehension check-in about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Millennium Villages Project (MVP). The lesson activities will enable students to develop a basic understanding of human rights and recognize them as the foundation and impetus for the creation of the MDGs. This understanding of human rights will support them as they investigate the Millennium Villages projects in the upcoming classes. They will also review the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with a partner to identify any rights they feel are not being supported in their community or other parts of the world. Students will make connections between the articles and the MDGs. Finally, as a class, they will explore the articles further by creating their own articles for the Rights of the Teenager.
● Do all human beings have the same rights?
● Is it possible to support each person’s human rights?
Students will be able to:
● Articulate the definition of human rights
● Work in partners to identify articles in the UDHR that they feel are not being upheld
● Synthesize their knowledge of the UDHR to create their own articles on the Rights of Teenagers
● Compare the class definition of human rights that was written in the MVP Glossary vocabulary to accepted definitions
Common Core State Standards
● Human Rights: The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.
Note to Teacher: As explained in the lesson, students will create their own class definition of human rights, but also learn the accepted definition.
● Universal Declaration of Human Rights: On December 10 ,1948, 48 countries came together at the United Nations in Paris to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Motivated by the preceding World Wars, the UDHR was the first time that countries agreed on a comprehensive statement of inalienable human rights.
Materials for Instructor
● Handouts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
● Whiteboard or blackboard for notes
Materials for Students
● MVP Journals
I. Introduction to the Concept of Human Rights (10 min.)
Ask students if they think there are rights for every human being on earth.
Lead students in creating a class definition of human rights on the MVP Glossary Board.
After they create their own definition of human rights, share the accepted definition: “The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.”
● Ask students to compare their class definition of human rights to the accepted definition. Ask them to point out the differences and similarities between the definitions.
● Ask students if they feel their class definition is missing any important elements and if they would like to rewrite it.
Go to the Glossary Board, if you are not already in front of it, and introduce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to the class.
● Explain that on December 10, 1948, 48 countries came together at the United Nations in Paris to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
● Motivated by the preceding World Wars, the UDHR was the first time that countries agreed on a comprehensive statement of inalienable human rights.
● The UDHR is the first international document listing the 30 human rights to which everyone is entitled.
Entry-point questions for a discussion before the next activity can include:
● Why do you think the 48 countries who signed the UDHR felt it was necessary?
● Do you think a document can support peace in the world?
II. Exploring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (20-25 min.)
Hand out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and ask students to sit with a partner. Tell them they have two assignments:
Ask students to review the 30 articles and to circle the ones that they do not feel are being recognized in their community or in a community in another part of the world.
By any of the articles they have circled, ask students to write which one of the 8 MDGs the article(s) support.
Bring the class back together for a group discussion. Ask students to share any UDHR articles they circled and explain why they feel that article is not being upheld.
Ask students if they feel there should be articles specifically for teenagers.
Write on the board: “RIGHTS of the TEENAGER”
Note to Teacher: Refer to Rights of the Teenager sample, not to be shared with students.
Have students “popcorn” their responses out loud and write their Rights of the Teenager on the board. When they have completed their new articles, have a student(s) read them out loud.
Ask students to pay attention to their school and local community to identify any areas where they feel human rights are not being observed.