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Unit plan for ages 9-11 in Human Rights and Refugees: To Be a Refugee

Teaching and training materials

Unit plan for ages 9-11 in Human Rights and Refugees: To Be a Refugee

24 June 2007

Hadzi (centre, red shorts) and Maksum (grey shorts) with some of their friends. UNHCR helped the two boys obtain Serbian nationality.



To understand
- a) the definition of a refugee
- b) the concept of human equality
- c) the possible sources of stereotypes, prejudice, intolerance, racism and discrimination.


  • To foster open-mindedness and respect for others.
  • To encourage in the students empathy for refugees who are similar to themselves but who have lost their homes, belongings and homelands.


  • To be able to identify similarities between people of different nationalities.
  • To be able to detect biases, stereotypes, and egocentric attitudes in oneself and in others.

LESSON 1: Spot the Refugee - Part 1 and LESSON 2: Spot the Refugee - Part 2



Stereotyping, Prejudice and Refugees

The common human heritage shared by all humans alike, whether refugees or not.

Refugees are the same as everyone else except they have left their countries, driven out by a well-founded fear of persecution or because of the dangers of violent conflict.

Brainstorming session: Students are asked to give their impressions of who is a refugee.

Students consider actual Lego figures and study the poster of Lego people, looking for similarities and differences between the figures, and inventing ways to give each Lego person an identity.

Students 'spot the refugee' from amongst the Lego figures. Teacher uses the "spotting" exercise to explain stereotyping and prejudice.

Teacher provides a definition of term refugee.

Questions: Students answer in writing. Answers used as stimulus for discussion about refugee experience.


Lego poster entitled Spot the Refugee.

Geography unit for ages 9-11 can provide useful materials to convey how it is that people become refugees.

LESSON 3: How Does It Feel? - Part 1 and LESSON 4: How Does It Feel? - Part 2



Discrimination against refugees: Empathy with the plight of refugees.

Overcoming loneliness and isolation.

Group work: Students discuss how they would feel in each of the following scenarios:

  • as a new student who has just joined their class in the middle of the school year
  • as a child of their age who has accidentally been separated from the family while holidaying in a foreign land
  • having just heard the bad news that the breadwinner of the family no longer has a job

Questions for discussion: Students assess the poster to gauge its message. Teacher uses the questions to stimulate discussion about acceptance and welcome of refugees.


Sri Lankan refugee girl in Santiago in Chile at school with her classmates.

UNHCR Lego poster How Does It Feel?