Introduce activity with question on board as students
enter: What are human rights? Discuss briefly. Think-Pair-Share:
Students are then asked to make a list of the human rights
they think everyone deserves. After generating a list,
they compare with a classmate. Discuss: Why are your
lists similar? Different? Which are the most important
for a healthy, dignified life? Prioritize them (numbered,
1 being the most important…).
2. 2. Students then share with entire class, and the
class generates a list of 10 of the most important rights
that everyone should enjoy. Write these on leaves (construction
paper) and have a student attach them to a tree you’ve
drawn on poster paper.
3. Hand out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. (See 2nd website above.) Read the Preamble aloud.
Assign pairs 2 articles to rewrite into more casual language.
This is good synonym practice. Model one translation
of a UDHR article that correlates to one from their generated
list. Provide leaves for students to put their translations.
4. Which rights generated by the class are also listed
in the UDHR? As they align the official rights with their
translations, have them attach their translations to
the same branch as the similar class right. Some may
not align to any of the rights the class came up with.
Discuss why… Maybe we take things for granted…
5. Ask students what anchors and sustains a tree? Roots!
What would be the roots for our “Human Rights Tree?” In
other words, what is needed for human rights to be respected
or what conditions help human rights to thrive? Have
students then create roots (conditions) and attach them
below the tree.
6. If you have access to a digital camera, take a digital
photograph of each class tree and download it onto the
computer to be shown later. You can also remove leaves
between classes and then combine answers for the final
tree at the end or make new butcher paper trees for each
7. Create a Universal Declaration of Human Rights Illustrated
Option 1: Assign a right/article to each student, or
2-3 to pairs of students. They are to create a visual
(8 _ x 11” poster) to accompany each article. This
can be drawings or a collage—anything that shows
understanding of the article. This could be a good time
to show students the simplified version on the second
website listed above. The final product should be posted
to create the whole document.
2: Have students create a Verbal Visual Vocabulary poster
for each right.
This entails dividing a sheet of paper into 4 parts
(words, phrases, situations etc.)
to accompany article (illustration)
(What possibly occurs in the absence of this right?)
8. Attach in order as on the UDHR. Post around the room.
Students will enjoy seeing their work and the work of other
9. Have students write a short reflective piece in which
they imagine themselves in a situation in which basic human
rights are not respected. What would their lives be like?
This could be in the form of a letter from a repressive country.
They can use examples from what the class has studied throughout
Has the U.N. been successful? What has gone on since the
creation of the United Nations? Have there been any major
wars since WWII?