Lesson 1
Get Started - Explore Human Rights

Introduction to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Make connections between the UDHR and themselves
  • Make connections between the UDHR and the world


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is presented as a foundation for students’ awareness and understanding of basic human rights, which is guaranteed for all.

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
  • What rights are we granted under the UDHR?
  • How do these rights apply to me?

Recommended Time:

45 minutes

Common Core State Standards:






Copies of the Plain Language Version of UDHR and/or the full text of the UDHR

Lessons design:

  • Explain that in order to understand problems in the world, it is important to understand the rights we have guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Distribute copies of the UDHR, asking students to take time to read it, mark it up, and make comments about what they notice, what questions they have, and what their thoughts are about these rights.
  • Model ways to respond through think aloud responses such as: “I was surprised to read that all humans have a right to rest and relaxation.” “I wonder, who do these rights apply to? And who enforces them?”
  • Students read, noting their thoughts while reading the document.
  • Ask students to think about the human rights they are entitled to, and then make lists of people and places in their lives, as well as people and places they have heard of, who are not enjoying the same human rights that they do. Ask them to list rights that others have that they don’t also have.
  • Discuss the implications of being denied or allowed these rights, and how that might impact one’s life.

**This same lesson could be conducted for “The Sustainable Development Goals” or “The Convention on the Rights of the Child” with accompanying websites for further research as homework.

Sustainable Development Goals

Cartoons for Childrens’ Rights