Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Human Rights

Melissa Aldridge


During a study of Eleanor Roosevelt, the class examines -The United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights- in order to gain an understanding of the document and to create a list of rights for the classroom.


The student understands what constitutes personal, political, and economic rights and the major documentary sources of these rights.


-Chart paper
-Copies of -The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights- (at least one for every two students)
-Access to the Internet


1. Make copies of the document.
2. Become familiar with the web site if using.
3. Gather materials listed.


1. During a study of Eleanor Roosevelt, students discuss the difficulties of the time period in which she lived. Examples include unemployment, poverty, injustice, etc.

2. Distribute copies of -The United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.- It is helpful to have at least one for every two students.
This document can be accessed at the Web site : (see Weblinks below)
This site contains the document in several versions as well as other information and educational links. Optional: The site can be explored in class via a computer linked to a large screen TV, or students can view it individually or in a computer lab.

3. After taking time to read and discuss the document, ask the class to write a couple of paragraphs stating what they liked and disliked about it. Encourage them to be specific in their explanations.

4. Divide the class into groups of four or five. Have group members share the ideas from their writing pieces with one another. During the course of their sharing, have students discuss what rights they believe would be beneficial and/or appropriate for a class -Declaration of Human Rights.-

5. Next, each group shares their best ideas with the class, and then the class decides which ideas that they will use. The groups work together on a -Declaration of Human Rights- for the classroom.

6. After editing the work, have it word-processed or decoratively written on a large chart. Display the document in the classroom.
(Note: The editing can be done in a variety of ways. Suggestions: If you have a computer linked to a large screen TV, editing can be done by the class with one person operating the computer while members of the class suggest changes. An overhead projector would accomplish the same thing, although a final copy would need to be produced when complete. Another way would be for each group to edit a copy of the document and then share corrections.)


For students to create the final class document, they must -understand what constitutes personal rights.- This understanding will be built upon the ideas expressed in the -United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights,- one of the major documentary sources of these rights. Students will be held individually accountable for their understandings of -personal rights- as based upon this document. These understandings should be evidenced in their ideas and contributions during written work, group work, and class discussion.

1. Individual paragraphs stating likes/dislikes are assessed on a three-point scale: insightful understanding and explanation; adequate understanding and explanation; inadequate understanding and explanation.

2. Teacher observation of Goal 3 standards: quality and quantity of participation; handling of information during group and class work.

Web Links

Web supplement for Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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