World at Peace
Invite students to brainstorm the basic rights of people everywhere, explore in basic terms the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights and UNICEF's Committee on the Rights of the Child, and then use international photography galleries as part of a multimedia creative writing assignment imagining a world at peace.
Grade Level: Elementary
Estimated Time: Three one-hour sessions
1. What rights should be "universal" and apply to people in all nations?
2. Begin by asking students about the basic rights of children. "Kids everywhere deserve..." might be a good way to start. To prompt discussion, you may want to visit the online bulletin board at the PBS "Not For Ourselves Alone" Web site, where children submitted ideas for a Kid's Bill of Rights. How important are these ideas? Do they apply to kids everywhere?
3. See what international organizations like the United Nations and UNICEF have to say about this subject. (You may want to provide a brief introduction to the two organizations to help students contextualize this information.) Visit the UN's Human Rights in Action interactive exhibit. There, students may access a multimedia display built around the UN's Declaration of Human Rights. (Note: in addition to "plain language" versions of each article in the Declaration, this exhibit offers activity ideas built around each article, so this may be expanded into a longer curricular unit if you wish.) UNICEF's Committee on the Rights of the Child site offers useful information that you may paraphrase for younger children.
4. Call to the class's attention those statements related to safety, security, and world peace. How important do these ideas seem in the UN and UNICEF declarations? How often were they mentioned in class discussion? What do students think--is life in a peaceful neighborhood a "right" that we should try to ensure for every person?
5. Ask students to imagine what a world at peace might be like. To help them imagine this, have them visit the United Nations "Pictures of Peace" exhibit. There, students will see drawings by other kids from around the world and a collaborative poem created by children from 38 countries in 1997.
6. Use online photography galleries (or have students create their own artwork) as part of an original multimedia composition about world peace. Each student (or groups of students) should write a poem or short essay about the world at peace and choose artwork that complements their writings. An online photography gallery you might visit is the United Nations Staff Photography Gallery http://www0.un.org/cyberschoolbus/gallery/staffphoto/thumbs.asp
7. Use multimedia software like PowerPoint or HyperStudio to create student compositions, or create paper-based artwork to display at home or at school.
Optional: send the artwork to The World's Biggest Hug for Peace and see other works on display
8. Finally, discuss why people commit acts of violence like the ones that occurred on September 11, 2001. What might make individuals, groups, or nations commit such violent acts? To have a World At Peace, how can we prevent conflict--at home, at school, in our communities, and around the world? Brainstorm ideas to share with families and local officials.
9. As an extension, you may want to explore the United Nations "Preventing Conflict" curriculum, which includes international progress reports, case studies, activities, and recommended resources.
Student understanding should be assessed through:
Related National Standards from McREL:
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