T e a c h e r  C r e a t e d  L e s s o n

Activity: Ming Siu - Quality of Life & Human Rights

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Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta

Session One: Comparing Quality of Life
Engage students in a discussion using the following questions:
•What is quality of life?
•What factors determine quality of life?
•Create a list of factors that determine our quality of life (nice place to live, people who care, good food to eat, freedom to act on one's beliefs, access to schools, to feel safe, affordable health care, treated with respect, clean water, emotional stability, etc.).
Determining Quality of Life
Ask each student to divide a piece of paper into three columns.

Label the columns as follows: "Quality of Life Factors", "My Life" and "Ming Siu's Life".

List the factors that determine quality of life in the first column.

In the second column discuss how each student's own life contributes to or diminishes each factor of quality of life. For example, using the factor “nice place to live” to determine quality of life, the student should reflect on his or her living conditions. What criteria meet a ‘nice’ place to live (own bedroom, adequate heating/cooling, in good repair, etc.)?

Discuss findings.
Comparing Quality of Life
Now, explore the photo of Vietnamese refugees on the government dock.

Divide students into pairs. Give each pair a copy of the photograph or transfer the photo to use on an overhead projector in the classroom.

In the third column, have students examine how the evidence in this photograph of Vietnamese immigrants contributes to or diminishes the factors that contribute to quality of life. For example, using the factor “nice place to live” to determine quality of life, the students should look for evidence that supports or contradicts this statement. What criteria meet a ‘nice’ place to live (own bedroom, adequate heating/cooling, in good repair, etc.)?
Government Dock
Vietnamese Refugees on Government Dock, Photograph by Kiu Chan, July 1979, UBC Asian Library V-19
Vietnamese Refugees on Government Dock, Photograph by Kiu Chan, July 1979, Asian Library, University of British Columbia, V-19.

“When we first arrived, we had to stay in temporary accommodation. It was so crowded you could barely lie down. We stayed there for one month.”

Kiu Chan




© 1979, UBC Asian Library. All Rights Reserved.
View the complete media file

Learning Object Collection: Seven Stories
Critical Reflection
Pose the following critical question:
•What is the most significant difference between your quality of life and the quality of life of the Vietnamese immigrants in the photograph?
•Allow for discussion or ask students to write a brief paragraph.
Session Two: Quality of Life & Human Rights
Either referring back to the previous session’s discussion, or using the student's written assignment, ask students:
•What is the most significant difference between our quality of life and those of the Vietnamese immigrants?

Compare the relationship between factors that determine quality of life to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can visit this declaration here.
•How are quality of life and human rights related? How does this declaration ensure quality of life for every global citizen?

Pose the following questions:
•What would be the most significant difference in your life if this declaration did not exist?
•What human rights, protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are not being met for Vietnamese immigrants like Ming Siu?

Read Ming Siu's story for more information.
Ming Siu's Story
Ming Siu, Glenbow Museum
© 2006, Ming Siu/Glenbow Museum. All Rights Reserved.
View the complete media file

Learning Object Collection: Seven Stories
Active Global Citizenship
Raise the following questions:
•As global citizens, to what extent do we share the responsibility to help other global citizens meet basic human rights?

•If we do share in a global responsibility to ensure the basic human rights of all people, how can we implement change if the needs of people are not being met?
•What is the most effective way to implement social change?

Discuss methods people have used to implement social change (protests, brochures, donate money, volunteer, email petitions, electing government officials that value your beliefs, discussion panels, sit-ins, riots, bombings, terrorist acts).

What criteria define the effectiveness of methods to implement social change (scope of impact, lasting effects, etc.)?

Ask students to rank the list in order the most effective to least effective methods to implement change.
Creating a Plan of Action
Allow students the opportunity to find a current human rights issue that is important to them and create a plan of action to implement change. Visit organization websites such as: Oxfam, Amnesty International and Alberta Human Rights Commission. After creating a plan of action, students present their plan of action with the class.

Allow time for students to research and create their presentations. Length of time is up to the educator.

Things to research before creating a plan of action:
•What is the issue?
•Who is being affected?
•Analyze the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What human rights protected by this document are not being met?
•Why should Canadians care about this issue?
•Determine the most effective way to implement change.
Suggestions for Assessment and Evaluation
•Students hand in their notes from the comparing quality of life activities.
•Students give more formal presentations of their findings through answering the various critical thinking questions.
•Students are evaluated on their Plan of Action.
•If desired, students are assessed on their follow through of their plan of action (letter writing, posters, volunteering time at an organization, etc.).
Ming Siu – Human Rights
The provision of human rights is integral to quality of life. Ming Siu was persecuted in Vietnam because of his Chinese ethnicity.
View the Learning Object

Learning Object Collection: Seven Stories

Learning Objectives

Students will recognize and appreciate the importance of human rights in determining quality of life. They will explore various understandings of quality of life and develop a plan of action to address current issues of human rights.

Suggested Grade Level(s): Grade 10
Suggested Length of Class Time: 2 - 60 minute sessions, with an extension activity of up to 5 sessions
Subject Areas: Social studies, language arts

Alberta Social Studies Curriculum
Grade 10 – Perspectives on Globalization
To what extent should I, as a citizen, respond to globalization?
4.2 Recognize and appreciate the importance of human rights in determining quality of life
4.3 Accept political, social, and environmental responsibilities associated with global citizenship
4.4 Explore various understandings of quality of life
4.10 Evaluate means by which individuals, governments, organizations and businesses could address opportunities and challenges of globalization
4.11 Develop strategies to demonstrate active, responsible global citizenship