Gameplay and Resources
Although The Human Rights Game was developed for teacher facilitation, the game can also be utilized in counseling and family settings as an excellent way of teaching behavior, social sciences and history in relation to human rights. Below are some suggested guides for teachers, counselors and families as well as resources that can be utilized to extend the learning from gameplay.
The Human Rights Game represents a fun and highly engaging way of learning about human rights. In summary, the game works as follows:
The facilitator guides the players through gameplay using a dice, prawns, tokens and a one-minute timer. All players get to roll the dice and land on a numbered space on the playing board.
Players then read out loud the contents of the cards and respond based on where their pawn lands during their turn. If a player picks up and responds to an Article or FED card, they earn one token for doing so.
The Article and FED Cards are based on the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights 30 Articles. As both the Article and FED cards involve interaction, comment and discussion, the one-minute timer gets activated after those cards are read out loud to keep the game moving. However, any issues that come up during gameplay can be addressed during postgame discussion. Should any player feel uncomfortable responding to a particular card, the player may place the original card at the bottom of the same deck and take a second pick.
The game also includes Chance Cards and Bounce Back Cards. The Chance Cards introduce specific situations with appropriate and inappropriate behavioral responses. Players win or lose tokens based on the randomness of the Chance Cards they pick up. The Bounce Back Cards randomly move players around the playing board while addressing environmental disasters with positive solutions designed to foster resilient thinking. The randomness of both the Chance and Bounce Back Cards give players experience dealing with often unexpected situations requiring them to make choices and decisions.
The playing cards allows all players the opportunity to voice their opinions and share their thoughts about how to respond in difficult or challenging situations. This discussion can be useful to encourage complex thinking and problem solving.
The player with the most tokens at the end of the allotted playing time is deemed the winner of the game.
Included are ten postgame discussion questions. It is important to allow adequate time for postgame discussion as this is where misunderstandings and incorrect learning can be addressed. (complete instructions come with the game).
To incorporate The Human Rights Game into a teacher setting, either small groups take turns cycling-in to play in your learning center, or up to four games played simultaneously with 2 – 8 players in each group when pairs of players play together.
This second approach enables up to 32 students, or a complete class to play simultaneously. As players problem solve and discuss human rights issues relevant to their families, schools, communities and the larger world community, direct or indirect supervision of players with either approach is a good idea.
The Human Rights Game can be used as:
- An ice-breaker/educational tool to empower classrooms of students to start meaningful conversations about classroom culture and development of meaningful rules.
- An innovative educational tool in the classroom to enhance your social science program. School clubs can use The Human Rights Game to encourage members to develop a social conscience and community spirit.
- As a highly engaging tool to give players experience in collaborative learning.
Since The Human Rights Game encourages critical thinking and collaborative problem solving, the following can be tried:
- Players work in pairs as they collaboratively answer question cards and move around the game board.
- Players engage in conversation as they respectfully agree and disagree with others’ responses
- Players practice active listening skills as they consider each other’s responses
- Players determine rules for how to dissent respectfully, as well as how to enhance a player’s response without being repetitious
- Players participate in the extension activities listed in the resources section.
Please note that an important objective of The Human Rights Game is to enhance critical thinking and build collaborative opportunities. Accordingly, teachers co-facilitating with each other, support services personnel or even administrators, serves as a wonderful model for players to see their community coming together to develop a common understanding of and respect for human rights.
The Human Rights Game is also an excellent resource for counseling settings. As the counselor and client(s) play together, The Human Rights Game provides an effective counseling technique for improving emotional and mental health as the life issues portrayed on question cards are considered and discussed. The interchange of thoughts and feelings during counselor-facilitated game play is likely to empower clients, allay anxieties and enrich the counselor/client relationship while improving clients’ sense of well-being through practice in responsible choices and decision making.
Since it is important for the counselor and client(s) to be engaged in active interchanges where agreeing, disagreeing and adding to previous comments is crucial in a counseling session, it is suggested that rules be adjusted, allowing any player, not just the player who chose the question card, to receive a token when a thoughtful response is given. Additionally, use of the included timer is discretionary
The Human Rights Game is also ideal for family settings. The game includes two sets of playing cards. One set is for ages 10-14 and the other set is for ages 15 plus. It is suggested the playing cards that closest match the age group of the family be utilised. Playing the game offers an opportunity for families to engage in thoughtful discussion, either to promote knowledge and understanding of history and social sciences, or to challenge thinking about human behaviour and decision-making processes.
With one game, up to 6 people can play and more with teams. Note that in family settings the discussion that evolves may be different from a teacher-facilitated discussion in a class meeting.
The time frame for the game was chosen to match a school period. In a family setting, the game can be played over a longer period. Likewise, post-game discussion can take place over a longer period.
The resources provided in this section, offer students, teachers, counsellors and families’ ways to enable deeper reflection and internalization of human rights principles discussed during game play. Continued relationship-building and civic responsibility will be enhanced as players apply their knowledge and thoughts as they engage in post-game activity.
- Players create 30 posters. Each Poster lists one Universal Declaration of Human Rights article with a corresponding picture drawn by the players. Place the 30 posters around the classroom and or your school.
- Have players write constructive letters to various governments around the world asking them if they have any human rights projects their school or group could support.
- Players research organizations around the world committed to supporting human rights. Then players can contact some of these organizations asking them how they could become involved.
- Give players the opportunity to develop a fictional organization committed to advancing human rights. The organization will need a name, logo, a picture of its office layout, a set of rules and a statement describing its legal activities.
- In groups, players create a two-minute performance/skit addressing one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights articles or playing cards from the game. Have performers (players) share their performance with the class or group, who in turn recognize Freedom, Equality and Dignity in their performances.
- Have players reflect on what they have learned from playing The Human Rights Game. Then ask the players to identify which articles are most important and write up the changes in their lives they would like to make.
- Have players think about and then develop a class and or school behavior plan based on what they learned from playing The Human Rights Game.
- Players become human rights activists using earned tokens from previous play to practice the foundations of human rights activism
Please note: It is required that players record the number of tokens earned from their last game play session to participate in this activity.
Activity objective: Player activists have fun using earned tokens from previous play to fund hypothetical or real human rights projects which benefit their school and community or even the larger world community.
Procedure: Individual players or small groups of players plan the implementation of hypothetical or real community projects while considering the outcomes of humanitarian activism. See “Activist’s Project Development Outline” format. Since an important part of this activity can be the collaborative thinking process of considering and ranking the different civic benefits for each project, it is suggested that players work together in pairs or small groups whenever possible.
Please note: There is certainly the possibility that activists will identify “real” projects that they are interested in implementing. This would, of course, further enhance understanding and internalization of the UDHR and the importance of human rights. Administrative approval along with adult supervision and guidance would likely be needed. In addition, regular assessments of progress and outcomes would then be added to the procedures.
5 minutes: Discuss definition of a human rights activist
5 -10 minutes: Brainstorming and prioritizing list of civic projects of special interest to players. Players may choose to consider a “real” projects that they are interested in implementing, alternatively they may choose to formulate their own human rights projects.
5 minutes: Selection of civic projects they wish to fund using tokens
15 min: Development of Project Development Outline, making record of their rationale and the plan for implementation.
10 minutes: Players share their outlines with the larger group.