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Grades 5-8

A view from the top – Unit plan

Help your students dig deeper into human rights stories while discovering how different groups have inspired change for human rights.

A smiling woman on the alabaster ramps of the Museum.

“A view from the top” is a three‐lesson unit plan to accompany the Virtual Museum Tour: A view from the top - will open in a new tab. This unit introduces students to inspiring human rights stories and how these stories motivated people to take action for human rights.

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

  1. Explore:

  2. Respond:

    • Briefly summarize the virtual tour. Where did you stop? What stories did you hear? What part of the tour was most interesting to you?
  3. Dig deeper:

    • Dig deeper into what it takes to inspire change for human rights. Go to the “Upstander stories” section of the Be an Upstander website to learn about a variety of people who took a stand to make a change for human rights. (You will find this link in the expandable left-side menu.)
  4. Respond:

    • Of all the upstanders featured on this website, who stood out the most to you and why?
    • What was this upstander taking a stand for? How did this person take a stand?
    • What were the impacts of their actions?

Lesson 2: Music as inspiration

  1. Refresh:

    • While watching the Virtual Museum Tour: A view from the top, you visited an area in the Inspiring Change gallery on Level 7 called the listening stations. Here you briefly heard about how music can and has been used as a tool to inspire people to take action for human rights. To review, please go to 4:20 in the video.
  2. Reflect:

    • Has music ever changed your point of view?
  3. Explore:

  4. Respond:

    • What is the meaning behind this song?
    • How might this song inspire people to make a positive change for human rights?
  5. Research:

    Do some research into a song that has, or is currently having, a positive impact on human rights. Then respond to the following questions.

    • What song did you choose and why?
    • What is the main message behind the song?
    • How has this song made a positive impact on human rights?

Lesson 3: Inspiring change in your community

  1. Refresh:

    • One of the final stops in the Virtual Museum Tour: A view from the top took you to an exhibit called Join the Conversation. In this area, rows of shelves featured a variety of cards for people to write about what they imagine, what inspires them, and so on. To review, please go to 5:10 in the video.
  2. Reflect:

    • What inspires you to take action for human rights?
  3. Explore:

    • Go to the “Rights and issues” section of the Be an Upstander website. (You will find this link in the expandable left-side menu.) Here you can read about 15 of the 30 human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  4. Respond:

    • Which one of these 15 human rights stood out the most to you? How does this right impact your day-to-day life?
    • What can you do to draw attention to this right? Think back to some of the examples you saw, such as the grandmothers who put yarn around tree branches in Africa or K’naan who used music to discuss the impacts of war.
    • Like the upstanders in Lesson 1, how can you inspire or motivate others to ensure this right is fully respected and protected in your community?