Life Interrupted Logo

Rights and Responsibilities Curriculum

Grades 9-12

What responsibilities do individuals have to uphold human rights?


Teacher Overview

This unit, Rights and Responsibilities, was written for civics and U.S. history teachers. Teaching the unit in its entirety would require 10 classes, or 5 class periods on the block schedule, although lessons or activities could be used separately as well. The unit is based around an essential question, which students should be able to answer by the end of the lessons. This type of curriculum writing, advocated by educators such as Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Grant Wiggins, encourages students to think critically and ties units together so that all activities are linked to a common goal. Civics teachers may wish to teach the unit at the beginning or end of the school year as an introduction to or review of our rights and responsibilities as humans and as citizens of the United States. U.S. history teachers may wish to teach the unit and its activities throughout the year as they cover some of the events highlighted, such as Indian Removal, Jim Crow laws, Japanese American incarceration during WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, and post-9/11 treatment of Muslims, Arabs, and Arab Americans. Teachers may wish to draw additional information and/or activities from the middle school units written for geography and Arkansas history, which cover in further depth the experiences of Japanese Americans in Arkansas.

A CD-ROM containing additional primary sources is available by emailing Dr. Kristin Mann at

Curriculum Unit Map

Essential Question
What responsibilities do individuals have to uphold human rights?

Guiding Questions
1. What rights are we guaranteed? (Lesson 1)
2. How have rights been denied to individuals or groups throughout U.S. history? What
conditions have led to these rights violations? (Lesson 2)
3. How have individuals in U.S. history responded to rights violations? (Lesson 3)
4. What can we do to remedy rights violations in the United States and the world? What
are our responsibilities to uphold human rights? (Lesson 4)

The following files are all in pdf format and require Adobe Reader to open. Individuals using screen readers may require the use of Adobe's online conversion tools to use utilize these documents.

Dowload the entire Rights and Responsibilites Curriculum
(1.71 MB ZIP).

Use the following links to download sections of the Rights and Responsibilites Curriculum.

Introductory Materials

Unit Map

Lesson 1: Human Rights

Lesson 2: Promises Denied pt. 1 | pt. 2 | pt. 3 | pt. 4 | pt. 5

Lesson 3: Individuals Making a Difference pt. 1 | pt. 2 | pt. 3 | pt. 4 | pt. 5

Lesson 4: Our Responsibilities

Lesson 5: Assessment & Discussion