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Grades 5-8

Stay home, stay safe – Unit plan

Help your students build their understanding of human rights in Canada as they learn at home.

A smiling woman being filmed by a cell phone. Her image is visible on the phone's screen.

Photo: CMHR, Scott Gillam

“Stay Home, Stay Safe” is a five‐lesson unit plan to accompany the Virtual Museum Tour: Stay home, stay safe - will open in a new tab. This unit introduces students to foundational human rights concepts and how these concepts have evolved throughout Canada’s history. Students will be challenged to think critically about Canada’s human rights journey and their own perspectives on human rights.

The lessons included in this unit plan are cross‐curricular and encourage students to read, write, represent, and communicate ideas about human rights in Canada. 

Lesson 1: Explore the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

  1. Explore:

  2. Respond:

    • After watching the whole video, what part of the tour was most interesting to you? What caught your interest?
    • At the beginning of this tour, you learned about a specific declaration (around 1:00 in the video). Write down the declaration. Why is this declaration important?
    • How did Viola Desmond’s story help to shape Canada’s human rights journey?

Lesson 2: Indigenous peoples of Canada

  1. Refresh:

    • While watching the Virtual Museum Tour: Stay home, stay safe, you visited a gallery called Indigenous Perspectives where the Museum’s guide spoke about the Spirit Panel Project. To review, please go to 4:10 in the video.
  2. Reflect:

    • How do you define human rights? Before starting on the next step write down your answer to that question.
  3. Explore:

  4. Respond:

    • Write a brief summary of one of the panels. Your summary should include the meaning behind the panel, where it was created, and why you chose to focus on it.
    • After hearing these perspectives on human rights, go back to your earlier definition of human rights. Is there something you would add or change?

Lesson 3: Canadian journeys towards human rights

  1. Refresh:

  2. Reflect:

    • Do you think Canada has always respected people’s human rights? Before starting on the next step, write down your answer to that question.
  3. Explore:

  4. Respond:

    • In the story, Viola is described as being “a woman ahead of her time.” Why is she described this way?
    • Define segregation. How did segregation play a role in Viola being removed from the theatre?
    • Do you think something like what happened to Viola could still take place in Canada today? Explain why or why not?

Lesson 4: Circle of influence, dialogue and discussion

  1. Refresh:

  2. Reflect:

    • Does talking about human rights with others help to ensure that human rights are protected?
  3. Prepare:

    • Today you will be talking to someone (family member, friend, etc.) about human rights. Begin by identifying who you will be talking to.
    • Prepare at least three questions you want to ask this person. Remember these questions need to focus on human rights.
    • Prepare at least three things you want to share with this person about your own thoughts on human rights.
  4. Engage:

    • Engage in a discussion focusing on human rights.
    • Take notes during this conversation to help you remember what was said.
  5. Respond:

    • What interesting information did you learn in your conversation?
    • What did you agree on or disagree on during your conversation?
    • How did talking to someone about human rights impact your perspectives on human rights?

Lesson 5: Your perspective on human rights

  1. Refresh:

    • The visual arts can be a powerful way to share a message. The Museum uses the arts throughout its galleries in order to share a variety of human rights stories. Revisit the Virtual Museum Tour: Stay home, stay safe in order to be inspired by some of the art used in the Museum.
  2. Explore:

    • Explore the Be an Upstander website to learn about 15 of the 30 articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, using the “United Nations” section. (You will find this link in the expandable left-side menu.)
  3. Create:

    • Choose one of the rights listed on the Be an Upstander website. Create an art piece that represents why you think this right is important or how you are impacted by this right.
  4. Respond:

    • Write a summary or record yourself explaining the meaning behind your art piece.