Activity Introduction

srf_y10_civilrightsaroundworld_photoframeQuick summary: In this Finding Out lesson, students will explore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). They will establish their prior knowledge about the Declaration through the ‘3-2- 1 Bridge’ visible thinking routine, then pose the questions that they have about Australia’s connection with the UDHR. Students will work in groups to conduct quick research around their questions, then share what they find with a partner. Students will work either individually or in groups to create a timeline detailing the development and influence of the UDHR, and use the evidence they gather to support their response to the critical question: “Is the UDHR relevant today?” Students will then reflect on their learning by completing the second part of the ‘3-2-1 Bridge’ visible thinking routine.

Essential questions:

  • What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)?
  • How was Australia involved with the development of the UDHR?
  • Is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights still relevant today?

21st Century skills:

Critical Thinking Team Work Empathy Communicating Creative Thinking Digital Literacy Ethical Understanding

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions
Year 10 History:

  • The origins and significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including Australia’s involvement in the development of the declaration (ACDSEH023)
  • Identify and select different kinds of questions about the past to inform historical inquiry (ACHHS184)
  • Select and use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies (ACHHS193)
  • Use chronological sequencing to demonstrate the relationship between events and developments in different periods and places (ACHHS182)
  • Use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS183)
    Identify and select different kinds of questions about the past to inform historical inquiry (ACHHS184)

Syllabus outcomes: HT5-2, HT5-8, HT5-10

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students explain the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives. When researching, students develop, evaluate and modify questions to frame a historical inquiry. They process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students develop texts, particularly explanations and discussions, incorporating historical argument. In developing these texts and organising and presenting their arguments, they use historical terms and concepts, evidence identified in sources, and they reference these sources.

Topic: Human Rights.

Unit of work: Story of Our Rights and Freedoms – Year 10.

Time required: 120+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium- provide some guiding information to students and supervise group activities.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of audio/visual presentation to present a video to the class. Student web-enabled devices. Sticky-notes. Ultimate Cheatsheet for Critical Thinking (download from here). Printed How to Make a Timeline factsheet (from

Keywords: rights, freedoms, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, relevance, historical, contemporary.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

unpeople_photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will become familiar with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Students will know about specific people who were instrumental in the drafting of the declaration, as well as those who influenced the Australian government to become signatories to it. Students will work to think critically about the topic, and pose investigative questions. They will develop research strategies and apply them to an online search, and be able to share their findings publicly.

Teacher content information:

The twentieth century was an important period in history. During this time, the modern world underwent significant transformation as a result of political turmoil, global conflict and international cooperation. This in turn influenced Australia’s social, cultural, economic and political development. A significant aspect of the nation’s development includes the demand for, and achievement of, rights and freedoms.

There is no universal

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: “When the fundamental principles of human rights are not protected, the centre of our institution no longer holds...” – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

1. Explore your current understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by completing the 3-2-1 Bridge visible thinking routine below:

Three thoughts: Two ideas:

One question:


Then, share your ideas with a partner, and extend your responses with ideas from the discussion.
2. Here’s a very brief overview of the United Nations (UN) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):

  • The UN was formed following WWII to ensure the atrocities from the war, particularly the holocaust, would not be repeated.
  • The UN was formed for the purpose of: “maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights”.
  • As of June 2
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