The most common definition I got was, "rights all humans have."
I thought it would be obvious why this definition doesn't work... but when I looked it up on google, it was a little surprising how unhelpful it was:
Hasn't google ever heard that you're not supposed to define a word with the word you're trying to define?
So, I asked students to define "rights."
The definition I gave was, "something everybody deserves to have or to be able to do."
Even this definition has it's problems, though. ("Deserves" for one...) Still, it's not a bad start.
We talked about the differences between rights and privileges. A couple years ago, our school started allowing students to chew gum. If students said, "at this school, we have the right to chew gum," would they be wrong? Or is chewing gum still a privilege?
At any rate, we came up with several examples of human rights. I showed them the first part of a prezi I made a few years ago:
It has a lot of information on human rights in it at the beginning.
Today, though, I asked the question: how does America protect the human rights of its citizens?
Students may earn extra credit by reading and discussing this post with an adult. I would definitely ask/discuss what are some human rights? Also, how does America protect the human rights of its citizens?
When you're done discussing, write the answer to those questions on a scrap of paper. Have the adult you read and discussed it with sign the paper. Make sure your name, date, and hour are on the paper.
Turn it in tomorrow.