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Introduction to Human Rights handling session

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2
  • Subjects: Communication and language, Personal, social and emotional development, Understanding of the World, Art and design, Citizenship, English, Geography, History, Personal, social, health and economic education
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: International Slavery Museum


A hands-on learning session. Students engage with museum objects, as well as creative and artistic activities, to explore the importance of human rights.

Further details

school children taking part in a museum sessionKey stage 2 Human Rights session

In this session students are divided into five groups, each focusing on the rights of children and adults by exploring selected objects and sources. The five themes are:

  • The right to be treated equally
  • The right to education
  • The right to be safe
  • The right to free speech
  • The right to play

An experienced member of the International Slavery Museum's education team will help build a basic understanding of human rights and guide students through their investigation. Students will learn how human rights affect their lives and their local community, as well as people around the world.

Students will explore real cases of people who have experienced life without human rights protection. This includes historical figures such as Rosa Parks, as well as contemporary figures such as Malala Yousafzai, and information about the lives of  modern day refugees, asylum seekers, and survivors of slavery.

Students explore related objects and sources, to engage in hands on learning activities and discussions. Each group will create their own artistic campaign poster, choosing their own colours and designs. They will also have the opportunity to develop images and symbols that represent the themes and concepts that they have learned about.

The activities are completed in order to build the confidence, skills and understanding required to deliver a very short presentation to the other groups. Students will explain the significance of their right, as well as the choices they have made to show this on their poster. As the groups will each explore a different theme, this is a great opportunity for pupils to listen and learn from one another. The approaches used in this session enable students to develop a deeper understanding of Fundamental British Values

The Human Rights gallery trail 'Getting to know your rights' is available to download above, or for collection upon request.

Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 - History

  • Know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world.
  • Understand historical concepts such as continuity and change.
  • Understand the methods of historical enquiry.
  • The lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements.

Key Stage 2 – English

  • Pupils should be able to write down their ideas quickly.
  • They should be able to prepare readings, with appropriate intonation to show their understanding.
  • Explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary.

Key Stage 2 – Citizenship

  • Pupils should be able to sight reasonable justification for views.
  • Understand how and why citizens participate actively in society.
  • Develop understanding to identify bullying behaviour, to empathise with those involved and to seek appropriate assistance.
  • Understand the importance of embracing diversity, inclusivity and tolerance.

Fundamental British Values

  • Democracy. Understand the evolution of a society characterised by equality of rights.
  • The rule of law. Understand how human rights underpin British laws and be able to identify comparisons and differences with other countries.
  • Individual liberty. Understand freedom of speech and the importance of positive participation.
  • Mutual Respect. Learn to embrace diversity in all its forms and contribute to an inclusive community. Actively challenge prejudice and bullying behaviour.
  • Tolerance. Learn to recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith nature of the United Kingdom, and to challenge prejudice.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of what human rights are.
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the personal impact that human rights have on their lives.
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the impact human rights has had and continues to have on the lives of others.


Pupils will:

  • Develop object handling skills through working with the museum collections.
  • Enhance their artistic and team working skills through creating artwork.
  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.
  • Learn to give reasoned answers backed up by evidence. 


Pupils will be introduced to:

  • Human Rights Laws.
  • The significance of particular handling objects in demonstrating aspects of Human Rights.
  • How we can actively participate in society, what our responsibilities are and how we can encourage positive change.
  • How to recognise and respond to bullying behaviour, including E-safety.
  •  The role of museums like the International Slavery Museum.


Pupils will

  • Be inspired by the creativity and bravery of campaigners.
  • Be aware of the diversity of other groups and social categories.
  • See museums as enjoyable and creative places to visit.
  • Have greater empathy and awareness of responsibilities, reducing potential for bullying and improving relations with teaching staff.
  • Be encouraged to contribute to a positive social framework, for a tolerant and inclusive school environment.