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Grades 9-12

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 with light skin is filmed on a cell phone. She is wearing a lanyard with the words “Be inspired” and standing in front of an exhibit element made of horizontal strips of wood, some decorated with Indigenous art.

Photo: CMHR, Scott Gillam

“Stay Home, Stay Safe” is a five‐lesson unit plan to accompany the Virtual Museum Tour: Stay home, stay safe. This unit introduces students to foundational human rights concepts and challenges students to think critically about Canada’s human rights journey up until now and into the future.

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:

    • Briefly summarize the virtual tour. What stories did you hear? What part of the tour was most interesting to you?
    • At the beginning of this tour, you began by looking at a specific declaration (around 1:00 in the video). Write down the declaration. Why is this declaration important?
  3. Dig deeper:

  4. Respond:

    • Which of Viola’s human rights were not respected?
    • How did Viola’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 guide spoke about some of the panels created through 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 summary for one of the spirit panels. Your summary should include the meaning behind the panel, where it was created, and why you chose to focus on this panel.
    • What are the benefits of using art in order to share important messages such as those contained in the spirit panels?
    • 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:

    • While watching a Virtual Museum Tour: Stay home, stay safe, you visited a gallery called Canadian Journeys. Here you heard the story of Viola Desmond. To review, please go to 13:20 in the video. This is only one of the stories told in this gallery. Today you will explore some of the other stories.
  2. Reflect:

    • Do you think Canada has always respected people’s human rights?
  3. Respond:

    • How were the people in both stories impacted by racial discrimination?
    • What kind of changes have occurred in Canada since these events? How can we as Canadians prevent more stories like these from occurring?

Lesson 4: Circle of influence, dialogue and discussion

  1. Research:

    • Ideologies are sets of opinions and beliefs held by a group of people, which in turn impact a society’s way of being. Ideologies can also impact how a society protects, or does not protect, the human rights of all its members. Do some research in order to enhance your understanding of ideologies.
  2. Refresh:

  3. Respond:

    • What role did ideologies play in these Canadian stories?
    • What are some commonly held ideologies in Canada?
    • Are there ideologies that all members of a society should adhere to? Are there ideologies where members can or should disagree?
    • What are the pros and cons of a society where all individuals’ ideologies are the same?
    • Is it possible to balance polarizing ideological viewpoints within a society?
  4. Connect:

    • Connect with one of your classmates in order to have a larger discussion on ideologies and how they impact human rights.

Lesson 5: Canada’s ongoing journey towards human rights

  1. Reflect/respond:

    • Based on your personal knowledge and what you learned throughout this unit, prepare a reflection on the question: “Where is Canada on its human rights journey and what still needs to be done?”