Lesson Index

Celebrating Diversity & Similarity
Fire in the Forest
The Great Court Quiz Bowl
The Rights of the Child

Celebrate Diversity and Similarity

Kenwood Elementary, Second Grade
Minneapolis, MN
Nancy Wyberg, Teacher
Ingrid Kane, Attorney
Silvia Pratt Conger, Community Representative


Drawing supplies
Mural paper
Name tags

Time: One class period.

Students and team members introduce themselves, stating their names and their favorite color. Each child draws a picture of a flower on the mural paper.

Form a circle with the students. Introduce the principle of equality to the students: all children have the right to be treated as equals, independent of who their parents are, where they live, and what they believe. Discuss the following questions with the students:

What is a right?
What rights do children have?
What rights do all people in the world have?
What are human rights?
What are some basic needs of children?
How do these basic needs relate to rights?

Assist the children to discover the similarities and differences between the flowers and children and how this relates to the principle of equality (i.e. children have the same basic needs and have different own talents and characteristics).

Suggestion: Use a "talk ball" which allows the person with the ball to speak. Other students must listen while the other person has the ball.

A quick reminder: Each team should send in at least one lesson by December 15, 1995. THANKS!

Simulation Using Fire in the Forest - A Role Play

Grand Rapids Middle School, Grade 6
Karen Lyngdal Nelson, Teacher
Arlie Fundaun, Attorney
Kit Arnquist, Community Representative


Students will express their views on an important or controversial issue. Students will examine human rights from several points of view. Students will attempt to develop alternative courses of action.

Time: 2-3 class periods.

Resource: "Fire in the Forest"-- A Critical Issue Role Play/Simulation, Moorhead-Kennedy Institute, American Forum, 45 John St., #1200, New York, NY 10038 phone: (212) 732-8606


This role play/simulation is set in the Amazon rain forest in a hypothetical region called Amazonia. The area is inhabited by indigenous people called the Aka-Hipa. The current trend of the Amazonian government is to relocate other groups of farmers and miners to the Aka-Hipa land to further the way for development. There is controversy over the relocation. The settler group feels very powerless in the first place because they are already being moved around by the government. Historically, the government has not been concerned about rain forest preservation, and this has caused a problem for the indigenous people. In a nutshell, the Aka-Hipa and the settlers are in conflict, and now the government is getting involved because of the influence of an American "Greenpeace" type of group, which has money available if steps are taken towards the preservation of the forest.


Assign students to a role in one of four groups: Aka-Hipa, Settlers, Rescue Group, or the Amazonian Government. There are ample roles to fill in the role play. One excellent way to make this issue relevant to the lives your Minnesota community would be to ask adult community members to participate in the role play. Some possible adults could include administrators, school board members, parents, community leaders, etc.


The main follow-up activity for this lesson is class discussion. The students will need to debrief either orally or in a written context in order to put closure on the simulation, especially if no consensus was reached. Some possible debriefing questions include:

What were the major views presented in this simulation?
How good were we at listening to opposing points of view?
Was it difficult to come up with alternative courses of action?
Is it reality that there are times when consensus won't be reached?
What happens now?
What kinds of human rights violations take place in situations like this?
How did it feel to play a role?
How did it feel to play a role that you may have been opposed to?

Another possibility for follow-up is to have students write the rest of the story based on the actions of their group. The students could also find other examples in history or current events, which parallel the situation in the rain forest.

The Great Court Quiz Bowl

Expo Elementary, Grades 4-6
Elective Courts Class
Karen Randall, Teacher
Michelle Garnett, Community Representative David Sips, Attorney
Lesson created by Wendy Casra

Age Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12: Each level may need to have some adaptions of the lesson.

Objectives:Students will:

Learn vocabulary about the court to prepare for mock trial.

Develop basic research skills.

Work together in groups and deal with competitive situations in the workplace.

Time: Six class periods.


1.List of terms: writ of habeaus corpus, prosecutor, defense attorney, witness, judge, jury, plaintiff, hearsay, appeal, indictment, small claims court, beyond reasonable doubt, contempt of court, acquit, hung jury, due process, felony, misdemeanor, bailiff, closing argument, objections, sustain or over-rule objections, civil trial or civil court, criminal trial or criminal court, opening statement, testimony, direct examination, cross examination, grand jury, petit jury, arraignment, mistrial verdict, defendant, Bill of Rights, Constitution, plead guilty, innocent until proven guilty, court reporter.

2.Research Source with vocabulary words, i.e. xeroxed articles, encyclopedias, dictionaries, government resource books.

3.Index cards and file boxes.

4.Printed numbers to keep score or chalkboard and chalk.

5.List of questions about the terms. Ex. What are the answers a witness gives to the questions a lawyer asks called? (list of sample questions available from the Partners Project)


1.Choose 30 terms that the students will define and prepare the research source(s) students will use.

2.Divide students into teams of three. Students will choose a name for their team and label their team box of index cards.

3.Over a couple of class periods, the students research the terms using the research source, encyclopedias and other materials. The students will write a definition for each term on a separate index card. The teams will place the index cards into the file box.

4.Review the definitions with the students.

5.Explain the rules of the quiz bowl game before the day of the quiz bowl.


a.There will be three rounds. Each round will last fifteen minutes. Each team will have exactly 30 seconds to answer the question. The answer must be completely correct.

b.First round: All teams (i.e.. eight teams) will compete and may use their index cards in the first round. At the end of the first round, the four teams with the most points will advance to the second round.

c.Second round: The teams may use their index cards. At the end of the round, the two teams with the most points will advance to the third round.

d.Third round: The students must answer the questions from memory. At the end of the round, the team with the most points wins.

Body: The Great Court Quiz Bowl

1.Elect one person to keep score.
2.Review the above quiz bowl instructions.
3.Conduct the quiz bowl, recycling the questions from each round.


1.Discuss with students how they felt and what they learned about the role of each person from the court vocabulary.

2.Discuss the role of attorneys and how to win and lose gracefully.

Evaluation: How well students participate in team work, quiz bowl, and class discussion.

"The Rights of the Child"

Community of Peace Academy Charter School
St. Paul, Minnesota
Beth Getchell, Teacher
Melissa Weldon, Lawyer/Law Student
Susan Nicolai, Community Representative

Age Level: Kindergarten

Objective: The learner will generate and discuss ideas about what a person needs to live.

Materials: Time: 45 minutes

Large sheets of paper
Mancala games **(directions to make and play Mancala)


1. Students divide into preselected groups and walk to three appointed areas in the room.

2. The teacher, lawyer, and community representative get to know the children in their group. Each person shares their name and tells about themselves. (5 minutes)

3. Explain to the children what a "need" is. Ask the students, "What do you need to live and be happy?" Give the students time to think and then discuss the replies. On a big sheet of paper, record the ideas that your group comes up with. Student can help by drawing pictures and the adult can write key words to label the pictures. (10 minutes)

4. Return to the group setting. Students present their ideas to the other groups. Hang the papers in the room. (15 minutes)

5. Discuss that children have rights because they need lots of things to live and be happy. Point out a few things from the lists that the groups made. Tell the children that they are going to work with the human rights education friends to learn more about the rights of children all over the world. Point out that one right that children have is the right to play.

6. Break up into groups and return to areas in the room to learn how to play the African game Mancala.

To make a Mancala game:

Take a 12-egg styrofoam carton and cut the top off. Cut the top into two pieces. Take the bottom of the carton and color code each side of six egg sections or "pockets." Place each top half (Mancala) at each end of the carton. Place three beans or stones in each pocket.

To play Mancala:

Special rules:

Each player chooses a Mancala. Players move stones only counter-clockwise (from left to right) around the game board which includes the 12 pockets and 2 Mancalas. If player A drops the last stone in an empty pocket, then A takes that stone and all the stones in the pocket across from that pocket and drops them in As Mancala. If A drops the last stone in As Mancala, then A gets another turn.

The Game:

Place the egg carton with the Mancalas between two players who are facing each other so that one Mancala is to the right and one is to the left of each person. The first person, A, chooses any pocket on his or her side of the game board, such as pocket #3. Then A picks up the stones in pocket #3 drops one stone in each pocket, #4, #5, and #6. Player B then chooses a pocket, such as pocket #4. B picks up the stones and drops one stone in each pocket, #5, #6, and Bs Mancala. Each player picks up all the stones in the chosen pocket and drops one stone in as many subsequent pockets as there are stones.

The game ends when one side (row of six pockets) is empty. The other player then takes the stones in his or her row of pockets and moves them to his or her Mancala. The player with the most stones wins the game.

Notes: This game originated in Egypt. It can be played in the sand. The board game is available for purchase at game stores.

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