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 6 curriculum:[1]

Democracy: Action & Participation 

Grade 6 students will examine how participation in the democratic process is a means for governments and citizens to effect change in their communities. They will explore how democratic principles and ideals are reflected in the structure and functions of their local and provincial governments. Students will examine how ancient Athens and the Iroquois Confederacy have influenced Canada's democratic processes.

Grade 6 students will broaden their understanding of democracy in the Canadian experience and develop an awareness of the active role that engaged citizens can play within the democratic process.

Terms and Concepts: ACFA, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, collective identity, consensus, democracy, electorate, equity, fairness, FNA, justice, local government, MLA, MNAA, official language minorities, provincial government, representative democracy, Treaty of La Grande Paix de Montréal, Wampum Treaty

General Outcome 6.1 Citizens Participating in Decision Making
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the dynamic relationship between governments and citizens as they engage in the democratic process.

General Outcome 6.2 Historical Models of Democracy: Ancient Athens and the Iroquois Confederacy
Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the democratic principles exemplified by ancient Athens and the Iroquois Confederacy.


II. Application of Rights in Play Guide to Grade 6 Curriculum

The following Rights in Play Guide topics are recommended for the Grade 6 curriculum: Your Rights, Communication and Cooperation and (Un)Fairness.

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. Having a basic knowledge of these rights will also help students when learning about democracy, as they will know what governments must consider when making promises to their people.

In study of the stories and experiences of different Canadian communities includes an understanding of how they communicated and cooperated with one another and other communities. Through the games under the Communication and Cooperation topic, students will develop a better understanding of the importance of communication and cooperation in advancing participation in the democratic process in order to effect change in their communities.

When learning about democracy and governments, students can benefit from learning about the concept of fairness using the games under the (Un)Fairness topic. Fairness relates to the concept of justice, which is an important element in a democratic society.


III. Grade 6 Example Sessions


Game Name: Suitcase of Rights[2]  

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 6.2 Historical Models of Democracy: Ancient Athens and the Iroquois Confederacy

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


  • A copy of the UDHR (see Appendix A) or CRC (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).

  • 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 the session, review the background information for educators on fundamental United Nations and Canadian human rights laws provided in Appendix D.


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

  • Give each team a backpack and the items listed above if playing that variation. If playing with rights cards, give each team a set of cards to choose from, similar to the Rainbow of Rights cards. If playing with copies of the UDHR, give each team a simplified version of the document. Tell groups they have 5 minutes to decide what they will take and what they will leave behind, and to pack their bag. You can tell teams they can choose their top 8 rights to start and then eliminate rights until you are down to the top 3 or top 1.

  • If the group seems restless, have them finish this game by running a relay race similar to the one described in Rainbow of Rights.[3]

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 which 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: How Do You See It?[4]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 6.1 Citizens Participating in Decision Making

Purpose: This game gives each participant an opportunity to contribute ideas to the group. It also demonstrates the different perceptions that people may have of the same object and how we must work to communicate and understand each other.

Resources: A model design of any sort the facilitator can create, the supplies necessary for groups to redesign the model, a space large enough that groups can build a model without other groups seeing.

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


  • Find a spot where you will set up the model design and divide the participants into groups of approximately five people. Send them to different areas so that they cannot see each other’s model.

  • Tell the group that using the supplies that they have, they will recreate the model design that you have. However, they can’t look at the model while they are creating their design.

  • Tell them that each person from their group may only come up and see the model once and that group members must view the model individually. Each participant is to instruct the group on the design the group is to create. When the group is unsure what to do, the next participant should go look at the model.

  • Once all of the participants have seen the model design, declare that the game will end in two minutes.

  • Have the groups share their designs with the rest of the participants and compare it to the model design.

Debrief with Students:

  • What did you think of this game? Was it hard for you to take directions on how to create or change your design if you didn’t know what the original looked like, or if you had a different idea of what it looked like?

  • Did you learn anything about communicating effectively when two people had different opinions? Did you notice that different people see things differently?

  • How did you work through a solution to this problem?

  • Can you relate this type of problem solving to situations in the real world?


Game Name: Word Game[5]

Length: 30 minutes

Curriculum Ties: 6.1 Citizens Participating in Decision Making

Purpose: This game demonstrates the discrimination and unequal treatment towards some people who have unseen disadvantages.

Resources: Pens and papers—each paper with a letter on it (some very common letters, some uncommon).

Educator’s Background Information: Before the session, read the background information on (un)fairness in Appendix J.


  • Divide the participants into small groups of equal numbers - about 5 people in each group.

  • Tell the participants that they will be playing a word game in which each group will be given a different letter and will have 3 minutes to come up with as many words that begin with that letter as they can think of.

  • Pass out the sheets (each with different letters on them—some of the letters must be difficult to find words for) and pens.

  • Tell the group to begin finding as many words as possible. After 3 minutes ask them to stop and have each group count up their words.

  • Once all of the groups have read out the number of words they have, pick a number (an approximate average of number of words that the groups found, e.g., 25 words). Declare that all the groups over that number get candy or stickers.

  • As you pass out the prizes, ask them to read out their words. Some participants may start to complain, which will lead into the discussion. After the discussion, give the other groups prizes as they read their words.

Debrief with Students:

  • What did you think of this game? Did you ever feel as if the game was unfair? The same rules applied to all of the groups, so how was it unfair?

  • Do you think there are real life situations where the rules seem fair but in reality some groups are discriminated against because of their resources or other factors? Will this experience today help you better relate to people in that situation? Do you think these people are facing discrimination?

  • What can you do to prevent discrimination?

  • How do human rights protect people from discrimination?