Unity and the United Nations
By: Sara P. Chavarria and Rachel Hughes

Time: 4 class periods
Prep Time: -Photocopy a class set of Handouts 1.
-Photocopy Handouts 2 and 3 for each student
-Research Computer Room
Materials: Overhead 1: Preamble
Teacher Key: to Overhead 1
Handout 1: UN Charter
Handout 2: UN Navigation Aide
Handout 3: Crisis Interventions
Overhead 2: Optional Crisis Intervention form instead
of using Handout 3

Computer Room with Internet access


Students should be aware of the role of the United Nations in our contemporary world. The purpose of this Explain lesson is for students to be able to make the connection between the Declaration of Human Rights and current abuses of them today. Each student will be asked to identify 3 different UN crisis intervention occurrences and explain why they happened and how they were resolved or are being resolved. In so doing they, can further understand the intricate job the UN holds in trying to maintain peace and stability in the world.

Students will be able to:
- Identify current world crisis, UN policies in dealing with them, and the individual U. S. involvement in each case through research analysis.

National Council for History in the Schools
Historical Thinking Standards

  • Standard 2D: Evidence historical perspectives.
  • Standard 3F: Challenge argument of historical inevitability.
  • Standard 4C: Interrogate historical data.
  • Standard 5B: Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances and contemporary factors contributing to problems and alternate courses of action.

World History Standards

  • Era 9 Standard 2: The search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world.
  • Era 9 Standard 3: Major global trends since World War II.

Teacher Background
The teacher may want to address how the United Nations was formed if it has not already been done so and explain that it was meant to replace the League of Nations.

Related and Resource Websites
PEACE AND SECURITY: http://www.un.org/peace

HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: http://www.un.org/ha/
Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
Landmines http://www.mineaction.org/
United Nations Charter: http://www.un.org



Day 1 – Preamble & Homework
1. Display Overhead 1 as students walk into the room.

2. Begin class by having students read the UN Preamble in class. After the initial review, have students offer words or phrase descriptors that translate the formal language. The teacher or a facilitating student writes these words along the left side of the overhead for the different sections. (The Teacher Key sheet gives some idea of what possible answers could be.)

3. When finished, the teacher should note that many articles elaborate on the ideas presented in the Preamble written by the founders of the UN. For class purposes, the articles that address international human rights and equal rights will be focused on in the following activities.

4. If the teacher chooses, overheads of these articles can be made. They are the ones listed in Handout 1. Each article clearly identifies what it is about through the Chapter Title in which they can be found. The teacher may want to go over these in class.

5. Before the class period ends, allow 10 minutes to introduce students to the next day’s activity.

6. Instructions are as follows:

a. Each student will analyze 3 crisis situations the UN is involved in presently. They will be expected to conduct an evaluation of each of these incidents. They will be expected to evaluate the effectiveness and significance of the United Nation's role in each crisis.
b. They should fill out Handout 3 or use the format shown on Overhead 2 to record their information.
c. Handout 2 will help them find the websites that have information on these particular crises.
d. Handout 3 will help them answer one of their research columns on what UN articles are being addressed.
e. Students should refer to the Human Rights Trees from the Engage lesson to address what Human Rights were or are being violated.
f. Students will locate the US response to each crisis using the internet. The easiest way to find any materials, especially newspaper articles, will be to type “United States and <crisis name>“.

7. Students are encouraged to start research at home that evening as they will have only the next day in the computer room to research their 3 crisis events.

8. Finish by noting that they will be making presentations the day after the computer room on their crisis. All 3 of their researched cases must be ready.

Days 2 –
9. The next day, take students to the Computer Room to conduct their research. Handout 3 can be handed out at this time. If students are interested in reading all of the articles in the future, the web site address is: http://www.un.org

10. Students must also be able to identify on a world map the location of the three crises they are investigating.

11. If students do not finish their work, they must do so for homework.

12. Remind students that as soon as they walk in the next day they will be expected to present their work to the class. Each crisis presentation must take no more than 4 minutes.

Days 3-4
10. Presentations begin. Because of time constraints the teacher must now inform the students that she/he will pick one crisis per student to be presented to the class. As a student’s name is called, the student must mention the three crises investigated and the teacher will choose the one to be presented. Once again, they will be reminded that their presentation can take no more than 4 minutes.

11. The rest of the class is to take notes on the presentations. They are to use the format from their Handout 3. By the end of all presentations they should have rows equaling the number of students in each class.

12. When all presentations are done, review what the common violations seem to be, how the UN is dealing/dealt with them, and address where in the world most cases were/are taking place in. This is a great opportunity for an involved class discussion.

13. Finish the lesson by having students answer the following question at the end of day 4 or at the start of day 5 before starting the next lesson. (10 minutes)

14. On the board or an overhead write the following question:
In Your Opinion, was UN action appropriate in your 3 cases? Would you have done otherwise? Explain and defend your answer.

As necessary.

Embedded Assessment
Participation in discussions.
Handout 3 research work.
Student presentations.

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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