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 4 curriculum:[1]

Alberta: The Land, Histories & Stories 

Grade 4 students will explore the geographic, cultural, linguistic, economic and historical characteristics that define quality of life in Alberta. They will appreciate how these characteristics reflect people's interaction with the land and how physical geography and natural resources affect quality of life. Through this exploration, students will also examine how major events and people shaped the evolution of Alberta.

As they reflect upon the people, places and stories of Alberta, Grade 4 students will develop a sense of place, identity and belonging within Alberta.

Terms and Concepts
Aboriginal peoples, agriculture, archeology, cultural heritage, demographics, First Nations, fossils, Francophone, Francophonie, geology, Métis Nation, Métis settlements, multiculturalism, natural resources, paleontology, protected areas, sustainability, treaties

General Outcome: 4.1 Alberta: A Sense of the Land
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how elements of physical geography, climate, geology and paleontology are integral to the landscapes and environment of Alberta.

General Outcome: 4.2 The Stories, Histories and Peoples of Alberta
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the role of stories, history and culture in strengthening communities and contributing to identity and a sense of belonging.

General Outcome 4.3 Alberta: Celebrations and Challenges
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how Alberta has grown and changed culturally, economically and socially since 1905.


II. Application of Rights in Play Guide to Grade 4 Curriculum

The following Rights in Play Guide topics are recommended for the Grade 4 curriculum: Your Rights, Celebrating Diversity, and Human Rights and The Environment.

Learning about human rights under the Your Rights topic will help students develop knowledge and an understanding of the things that all humans need to live successful happy lives and learning about the human rights of children and others also lends itself to understanding and appreciating diversity.

The Celebrating Diversity topic assists students to develop an appreciation of the qualities that make them unique and special individuals, the qualities that connect them with those around them and around the globe and the factors that make other groups of people unique.

As students begin to learn about the environment and the social importance of the environment, they will also learn how the environment relates to and impacts human rights. The Human Rights and The Environment topic assists students to learn about the social implications of environmental damage and how damage to our environment damages the people of the world.


III. Grade 4 Example Sessions


Game Name: Suitcase of Rights[2]  

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 4.2 The Stories, Histories and Peoples of Alberta

Purpose: This game encourages participants to consider the Convention on the Rights of the Child and apply this to their own lives. Participants will also think about which rights are most important to them.

Resources: A copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (see Appendix A) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (see Appendix B), enough small backpacks for each team of 4-6 participants (the bags must be small enough that they will NOT hold all of the items below), a set of suitcase of rights cards, or copies of the UDHR for each team. If using backpacks, use the following items:

  • A ball labelled The right to play.

  • A fake passport or birth certificate labelled The right to a name and an identity, the right to belong to a country.

  • A microphone labelled The right to express yourself, and to have adults listen to you.

  • A box of bandages labeled The right to be strong and healthy, the right to have access to medical help.

  • A bottle of water and a piece of fruit labelled The right to food and clean water.

  • A newspaper or magazine labeled The right to information.

  • A box of chalk labelled The right to an education.

  • Several dolls with different costumes or religious symbols labelled The right to choose your own religion and to know your own culture.

Educator’s Background Information: Before beginning the session, read the background information on fundamental United Nations and Canadian human rights laws in Appendix A and human rights and the environment in Appendix I.


  • If the participants are unfamiliar with rights, begin by explaining what rights are. Tell the group about the CRC and the UDHR.

  • Place children in groups of 4-6.

  • Tell the children to imagine that there has been a human rights problem in their area. They have decided to leave, and they have to do so quickly. They have been told to pack their bags for a new country. Since they will have to travel far, they can only take what will fit in their backpacks. The group’s job is to decide, as a team, which rights they will fit in their bags and which they will leave behind.

  • If the group seems restless, have them finish this game by running a relay race similar to the one described in Rainbow of Rights game. 

Debrief with Students:

  • Begin by asking each group which right is most important to them. If they cannot choose, have them decide what they chose as their most important rights in the game. Why are they the most important rights?

  • Why did groups choose not to pack the rights they left behind?

  • Have participants imagine what it would be like if they did not have the rights they left behind. Have a few participants share their vision of what their world would be like without these rights.

  • How hard was it to decide as a team the rights to pack? Were there different values or ideas that came into conflict? Did people feel differently about what was most important or least important? Was there agreement on certain rights?

  • Discuss the connection between basic human needs and rights. Often rights protect those human needs. Have the group connect some of the rights in front of them with human needs.


Game Name: The Amoeba Race[3]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 4.2 The Stories, Histories and Peoples of Alberta

Purpose: This game demonstrates the idea that people have different strengths and can come together to use each person’s individual strengths to achieve a goal. It builds cooperation between participants and shows how important it is to respect both similarities and differences.

Resources: A large open space, a group of at least 15 participants.

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


  • Explain to the group that an amoeba is a single celled organism made up of a nucleus (the control centre), cell wall (barrier to the outside world), and cytoplasm (the body of the cell). Tell the participants that they are going to make their own amoeba.

  • Begin by assigning positions. One person will be the nucleus, many people will be the cytoplasm, and enough people to go around the whole group will be part of the cell wall.

  • Tell the different cell parts about their traits. The nucleus acts as the eyes of the cell and is responsible for directing it; the cytoplasm must be comfortable squishing very close together to make up the body of the cell; and the cell wall must be strong and rigid to act as a barrier to keep the cell together.

  • Now that the participants know their jobs, have them form a cell with the wall around it and the nucleus at the front on someone’s shoulders (or alternatively in the centre).

  • Ask them to try to move around together as a cell. Try timing their “sprints”.

Debrief with Students:

  • How did it feel when you were assigned a role? Did you like your role? Did you like being part of the majority? The minority?

  • Was it hard to co-ordinate at first? Was it difficult to coordinate everyone’s individual goals to achieve the group’s goal? What made it easier?

  • If all of the people in your group had the same position (for example, all cytoplasm) would the game have been harder/easier? Would it have been more/less fun? Would it have been harder/easier to stay together or direct yourself as an amoeba?


Game Name: Needs[4]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 4.1 Alberta: A Sense of the Land

Purpose: This game establishes a connection between people and their environment. It also highlights the importance of ensuring that resources are distributed efficiently amongst individuals. The game can be used to start a discussion about human needs (food, water, shelter, etc.) as human rights.

Resources: Large space (field or gym), one sheet of paper, one pen.

Educator’s Background Information: Before the session, review the background information on human rights and the environment provided in Appendix F.


  • This game requires at least 20 participants.

  • Divide the participants into two equal teams, and line them up in parallel lines facing away from each other 25 feet apart (make sure that the two teams cannot see each other).

  • Explain to the participants that one team is comprised of the members of a society called Splunkonia. The other team represents the resources available in Splunkonia.

  • For each round, without seeing the Resources, every Splunkonian must decide whether he is hungry, thirsty or cold. If a Splunkonian is hungry he holds his stomach, if he is thirsty, he cups his hands and if he needs shelter, he holds his hands together over his head (tented).

  • Without looking at the Splunkonians, the Resources also decide whether they would like to be food, water or shelter and make the appropriate symbol.

  • The Splunkonians turn back to face the Resources. On the count of three the Resources turn around revealing their symbol: food, water or shelter.

  • The Splunkonians run across the space and catch the food, water or shelter that they need. Only one resource per Splunkonian. If there are more Splunkonians that need water than there is water, then the Splunkonians who do not find a matching resource stay on the side of the resources. The Splunkonians that get what they need reproduce and take their new “offspring” (the Resource they found) back to the Splunkonian team. After each round the number of Splunkonians is counted and recorded.

  • Play the game about 10 times, so that the participants can see how the subsequent generations of Splunkonians are dependent on the numbers of the previous generation.

Debrief with Students:

  • Draw the participants’ attention to the ways in which the life of the Splunkonians was linked with their environment. Have the participants name other resources to which life on earth is linked.

  • What human needs do these resources fulfill?

  • In what way are most of these needs universal?

  • What kinds of human activities might threaten the fulfillment of human needs? How would the game have been different if the Splunkonians had been able to control their resources?

  • Discuss what else might happen to Splunkonians/humans if they do not get enough resources to meet their needs (e.g., poor health, can’t do well at school, poverty).

  • If you have already discussed human rights, link human rights with human needs. Discuss which human rights are being violated when people do not have access to the resources they need.

  • How are human rights dependent on a healthy environment?

  • What can we do?