Human Rights in Today’s World

Time Frame: Two 45 minute classes

Standards: PA World History Standards

5.1.W.B Analyze how conflict and cooperation among groups and organizations have influenced the history and development of the world. (Reference History Standards 8.3.9.D.)

5.2.W.B Analyze strategies used to resolve conflicts in society and government.

6.1.W.B Analyze how conflict and cooperation among groups and organizations have impacted the control of limited resources in the world.

8.4.W.C Evaluate how continuity and change have impacted the world today.

Enduring Understandings

  • Students will understand the study of political, social, and economic patterns reveals continuity and change over time.
  • Students will understand that culture is a unifying and controversial force in understanding human interaction.

Specific Learning Outcomes/Objectives

  • Define basic human rights
  • Examine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and apply the provisions to current events.
  • Generate a class definition of the components associated with Human Rights


  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • What does it mean to be human square activity sheet

Vocabulary terms for the unit

  • Accord
  • Consent
  • Declaration
  • Ethnic
  • Human rights
  • Inalienable
  • principle
  • Respect
  • Restriction
  • Universal

Activities and Procedures

Day 1

  • Bellringer – What rights should citizens have in society?
    • Students will come into class and begin writing their bellringer on the bellringer sheet. This activity is graded per day and students are responsible for answering prompts on days that they are not in class.
  • Intro to Human Rights – Picture activity
    • Students will go on a gallery walk in class. In this activity, students will take a notebook with them to answer the questions at each station.
      • Students will go around to 10 photographs arranged around the room. For each photograph, students will need to describe what they see in the picture and list three ideas that they can infer from the picture.
      • Class discussion – Have students share what they saw in each of the photos and the ideas that they could make a generalization about what story the photo.
  • Discussion – Class definition of Human Rights – post-it note from bellringer and class
  • discussion. For this event, have the students each write down one word that they think of when they hear the phrase human rights. Use this info to write a class example.
  • Homework assignment – Students will research a human rights issue that is in the news and write a one page news article written as if they were present. Their article will include details about the event and a brief background of why this event is occurring and how it is violating human rights.

Differentiation: The homework assignment can be modified by having students list 3-5 human rights issues and write a paragraph summary of one violation.

Day 2

  • Bellringer – Have students share their photo and explanation of human rights violations that were in the news.
  • Using the student’s bellringer presentations
    • This activity will examine student’s pre-existing knowledge of human rights violations.
  • Hand out the Human Rights Squares handout. Have students interact with fellow classmates by moving around the room trying to get fellow peers signatures for each square.
    • Host a class discussion with the following questions: Which were the easiest squares to find a peer to sign? Hardest? Why? Why were some of the squares more global in nature? Any square apply to US related issues? How would you define human rights?
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights- Have students use metacognitive strategies to analyze the text. In this activity, assign students into 5-6 groups and have them analyze each right. They will be expected to summarize the right and apply it a global issue.
  • Closure : 3-2-1 activity – On a notecard, write three things that you learned today, two questions that you still have, and one suggestion for how to teach this lesson again in the future.

Differentiation for UDHR activity: Have students look up vocabulary terms (10-20) and list on paper. Choose one right to summarize.