I. Alberta Curriculum

The Learn Alberta, Programs of Study, Social Studies K-Grade 12 provides the following overview, rationale and terms and concepts for the Grade 2 curriculum.[1]


Grade 2 students will investigate life in three diverse communities within Canada. Based on their understanding of their own communities, students will explore characteristics of selected rural and urban communities in Canada: an Inuit community, a Prairie community and an Acadian community. They will apply their understanding of various aspects that define communities, such as geography, culture, language, heritage, economics and resources, in their investigation of how communities are connected. Students will discover how people live in each of these communities and will reflect upon the vastness of Canada and the diversity of Canadian communities.

Students will also be given the opportunity to study the past of their own or one of the other communities studied. Throughout the study, emphasis will be on the contribution of individuals and groups to a community. Throughout the study, emphasis will be on the contribution of individuals and groups to a community.

Grade 2 students will develop a process for identifying characteristics of communities within Canada. They will inquire into the defining characteristics of a variety of communities in Canada to foster an appreciation of what makes a community and of each community's contributions to Canada as a nation. Through these explorations, students will develop an appreciation of and respect for the vastness of Canada and the diversity of Canadian communities.

Terms and Concepts: Acadians, goods, human geography, Inuit, physical geography, services, cultural diversity, rural, urban

General Outcome 2.1 Canada's Dynamic Communities
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how geography, culture, language, heritage, economics and resources shape and change Canada's communities.

General Outcome 2.2 A Community in the Past
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how a community emerged, and of how the various interactions and cooperation among peoples ensure the continued growth and vitality of their community.


II. Application of Rights in Play Guide to Grade 2 Curriculum

The following Rights in Play Guide topics are recommended for the Grade 2 curriculum: Your Rights, Celebrating Diversity, Conflict Resolution and Communication and Cooperation. Learning about human rights through playing games under the Your Rights topic will assist students to frame an understanding of the things that all humans need to live successful happy lives as well as helping them understand and appreciate diversity.

In Grade 2, where students examine the Inuit, Acadian and Prairie communities, an understanding and appreciation for diversity is an important factor. The games under the Celebrating Diversity topic will assist students to learn about what makes individuals and communities unique and special and also about the importance of accepting and celebrating differences in others.

It will also be important for students to understand how different Canadian communities dealt with conflict amongst themselves and with other groups. Understanding and practicing conflict resolution through the games under the Conflict Resolution topic will help students better understand the importance of conflict resolution and how to practice it.

The study of different Canadian communities will include learning how these communities communicated and cooperated with one another. The games under the Communication & Cooperation topic will assist students to better understand the importance of communication and cooperation.


III. Grade 2 Example Sessions


Game Name: Rainbow of Rights[2]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 2.1 Canada’s Dynamic Communities

Purpose: This activity introduces the concept of universal human needs and rights. Participants must think about which rights they consider most important and why. Are some rights so essential to our wellbeing that we should never surrender them?


  • Sets of colourful balloons or laminated rights cards (a set of 10 for each group playing and a different coloured set for each group)

  • 7 “Safety Deposit Boxes” (these could be boxes, pails or envelopes clearly labeled 1 through 7).

Educator’s Background Information:  Before the session, review the background information on fundamental United Nations and Canadian human rights laws in Appendix D.


  • Introduce the idea that there are many types of rights in the world. Some are more important than others for our lives and are essential to humanity. At this point you may wish to introduce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • Tell the participants that, in their groups, they are going to decide which balloons/cards represent the rights they consider to be the most important. They will then run a relay race to deposit their most treasured rights in the safety deposit boxes. Introduce each of the 10 rights and privileges to be considered, discussing each briefly to make sure everyone understands its meaning.

  • Separate the participants into groups of approximately 5 people and give each group its set of balloons/cards. Tell participants that they will have 5 minutes to decide amongst themselves which 7 of the 10 balloons/cards they think are most important. They must rank them from 1 to 5. Everyone in the group should have a chance to speak and the group should try to come to a consensus.

  • After calling “Time”, line the participants up in their groups at a start line. Place the safety deposit boxes at a finish line several meters ahead of the children. This is a relay race: only one member of each group can run at a time with one balloon/card. The next member of the group can start running when the previous member returns to the group to tag them. Tell the participants that since the balloons/cards are very valuable, each member of the group can only carry one balloon/card at a time across the field to the deposit box.

  • They are not allowed to carry the balloon/card in their hands but must carry it wedged between their knees. If that is impossible for some, have them balance it on their heads (only if they are using cards) or tuck it under their chins.

  • Each group must drop the balloon/card that their group has decided is MOST important in Safety Deposit Box #1. Each group’s second most important right goes in Box #2, and so on. Run the relay and congratulate groups not only for being the fastest group, but also for being the most harmonious, most cooperative, most careful, etc.

 Debrief with Students:

  • Discuss what happened during the decision-making process and selectively ask certain groups why they ranked their rights in the order they did.

  • Indicate which balloons/cards represent internationally recognized fundamental rights (i.e., enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child).

  • If they have not done so, connect the rights that children found most important with basic human needs. Ask: can you identify which balloons or cards represent basic human needs that are common to all people across the world and which balloons or cards stand for privileges that exist in Canadian society?

  • Is there anything else that is so important to humanity that it should be protected by a right?


Game Name: Sets[3]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 2.1 Canada’s Dynamic Communities

Purpose: This game can be used to show the differences and similarities that exist between us.

Resources: None

Educator’s Background Information: Before the session, review the background information on fundamental United Nations and Canadian human rights laws in Appendix D and on diversity in Appendix E.


  • This game works best with a group of 10 or more players.

  • The leader begins by explaining that “sets” of players are going to be asked to stand up or come to the front. These players all have common traits. Those who aren’t chosen to have to guess what unites them. See examples below.

    • Examples of “sets”: hair colour, eye colour, type or colour of clothing, height, pattern on clothing, type of shoes, glasses, bracelet, necklace, watch, gender, age.

  • Once you have played several rounds and chosen everyone (if possible) to be part of a set, initiate a discussion on similarities between people.

Debrief with Students:

  • How does this game relate to reality? Do similarities exist between all people? What makes us human?

  • How did it feel to be part of a large “set”? A small “set”?

  • Did you ever wish you were part of a set when you weren’t chosen? Does this happen in real life?

  • Sometimes we think that all people from a group are the same. What is this called? Answer: making stereotypes. What are the consequences of making such assumptions?

  • Was everyone in the set the same in all respects?

  • In this game we discussed similarities, what about differences? Why are differences between people important? What rights do we have that protect us on the basis of our differences?

  • How can we show respect to different groups or “sets” of people in our community?

  • Which human rights protect diversity?


Game Name: 5 Pictures[4]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 2.2 A Community in the Past

Purpose: This game allows participants to work creatively through a problem as a team. It offers an alternative to the traditional role-play.

Resources: Nothing specific is required, although teams may be permitted to use the objects around them as props if they wish.

Educator’s Background Information:  Before the session, review the background information for educators on conflict resolution in Appendix G.


  • This game can be used to complement any section of the curriculum. Often, it can be used by a skilled facilitator as an impromptu way of dealing with a problem or issue that has surfaced during a presentation, such as bullying, discrimination, something the participants have seen in the news, etc. It is up to the facilitator to pick a problem that can be dealt with using the five pictures.

  • Some sample situations could involve: bullying that occurs on the school playground, discrimination towards a new student in the class who is not from Alberta or Canada, a child who sacrifices school to partake in laborious work in a developing country, etc.

  • Divide the group into teams of 4-6 members.

  • Give them each a problem that they must act out. They can all be given different problems, or it can be interesting to give them the same problem if there are only 3 or 4 teams. Each team will interpret it differently.

  • Tell the teams that they have 10-15 minutes to create 5 different pictures that depict how the problem developed, the problem, what could happen if the problem is not dealt with properly, one or several solutions to the problem. They have complete flexibility to decide what they want each picture to reflect, but they have only 5 pictures with which to create their message.

  • The pictures are still tableaus. Each participant takes up one position and maintains it long enough for the audience to get a sense of the whole picture.

  • Groups may have a narrator who interprets each tableau, or they may choose to enact their situation silently and then discuss it with the audience after they are done.

  • After 10-15 minutes of planning, each group returns to the presentation area. Each group takes a turn presenting their 5 pictures. Each explains what the problem was as they saw it, how they interpreted it and how they resolved it.

Debrief with Students:

  • Discussion can be done either after each individual presentation or after all the presentations. The nature of the discussion will vary greatly depending on the problems that were depicted.

  • Relate the 5 pictures to human rights using the human rights documents found in Appendix A and Appendix B.


Game Name: The Smarties Game[5]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 2.2 A Community in the Past

Purpose: This activity encourages cooperation and competition.

Resources: A large box of Smarties or other candy.

Educator’s Background Information: Before the session, review the background information on communication and cooperation provided in Appendix H.


  • Participants are asked to form pairs and to sit facing one another at a table. They each rest their elbows on the table and link hands (an arm-wrestling position).

  • Hold up the box of Smarties and tell the children that each time their partner’s hand touches the table they will win a Smartie, until the box is empty.

  • When the signal to begin is given, some pairs will struggle to force each other’s arm down. Others will realize that a cooperative approach, in which each person in turn allows the other to press his or her arm to the table, will enable the pair to quickly accumulate a high score.

Variation: Use rock, paper, scissors instead of arm wrestling.

Debrief with Students:

  • Identify games and activities that are competitive and cooperative. Ask children how they experience each. Which do they prefer? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

  • When in “real life” is it better to cooperate?

  • What advantages are there to paying attention to the needs of other people?

  • How does it help you to protect the human rights of other people (i.e., making sure their needs are met)?

  • Discuss the way in which rights are accompanied by responsibilities.

  • The dilemma should also be posed as to whether the Smarties should be re-distributed. Are those with the largest totals (gained through cooperation) entirely happy with an uneven distribution?