Story of Our Rights and Freedoms - Tuning In

Story of Our Rights and Freedoms - Tuning In

Lesson 5 of 5 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 7 - 8
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Civics and Citizenship
  • Social
  • Equality
  • Homelessness
  • Human Rights
  • Social Action
  • ...

Lesson summary

In this Tuning In lesson, students will be introduced to the concepts of rights and freedoms. They will consider their own views on a set of statements about rights and freedoms then demonstrate and share their opinions in a class opinion continuum. Students will use the ‘Think-Pair-Share’ visible thinking routine to explore their prior knowledge of rights and freedoms, then watch a short overview video. The class will then work together to consider what else they would like to know about rights and freedoms.

Essential question:

  • What are human rights?

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 7 Civics and Citizenship:

  • Develop a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems (ACHCS054
  • Identify, gather and sort information and ideas from a range of sources (ACHCS055

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical Understanding 

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards: Students explain the diverse nature of Australian society. When researching, students develop a range of questions and gather and analyse information from different sources to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems. They consider different points of view on civics and citizenship issues.

Unit of work: Story of Our Rights and Freedoms – Year 7.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and student movement around the classroom.

Resources required

  • Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet
  • Device capable of audio/visual presentation to present a website to the class. Agree/Disagree signs (print before class)
  • Butcher’s paper (x 3) and markers, sticky notes (optional)
  • UDHR Infographic (from Zen


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Curiosity

Additional info

Throughout the Story of Our Rights and Freedoms lessons, students will consider Civics and Citizenship concepts through a human rights lens. They will critically assess the Australian system of government and the effect that it has on our rights and freedoms.
There is no universally accepted definition of human rights, and our understanding is continually developing. Some definitions include:

  • The recognition and respect of peoples’ dignity
  • A set of moral and legal guidelines that promote and protect the recognition of our values, our identity and access to an adequate standard of living
  • The basic standards by which we can identify and measure inequality and fairness
  • Those rights associated with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

When we talk about human rights we usually refer to principles that have been agreed upon by countries throughout the world. These rights have been set down in international agreements and form part of international law. They can also be written into the domestic law of individual countries. Human rights cover virtually every area of human life and activity. These include:

  • Civil and political rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom from torture
  • Economic and social rights, such as the rights to health and education
  • Individual rights, including the right to a fair trial
  • Collective rights, or those rights that apply to groups of people, such as the right to a healthy environment or to live on one’s ancestral land.

The UDHR is an international document that recognises the basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 and marks a key milestone in the history of human rights. The Magna Carta, though limited in who it protected, was an important precursor to the UDHR.

Click here to watch a video about the Magna Carta.

You can view the entire text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the other core international human rights treaties, on the United Nation’s website or by downloading RightsApp (free from the iTunes App store).

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