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Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan: Child labor in Burkina Faso

August 5, 2013

Full Lesson


by Katie Gould, Teacher Resource Producer at NewsHour Extra

Article by Marc Sollinger


English & Language Arts, Geography, Government & Civics, Media Literacy, World and Social Issues

Estimated Time

Approximately 1.5 hours or 1 block period

Grade Level

Middle and High School

For a more detailed curriculum on human rights please visit Rock Your World.

Guiding questions

  • What are human rights?
  • What is the UDHR and how does it apply to children?
  • What is the child labor situation in Burkina Faso?
  • How does being a child laborer effect a child’s mental development including education?
  • What can you do to speak up for the rights of children and teenage laborers?
  • How do different types of text and media contribute to understanding a fuller picture of a story?

Warm up

  1. Ask your students to answer the following questions on their notebooks:
    • What are human rights?
    • List five rights that everyone in the world should have and briefly explain why.
  2. First, in pairs ask students to read their answers to the person sitting on the left, then have the students switch roles and listen to their partner. Have the students compare their answers, discuss why they chose the definition they did and explain which rights they felt were the most important.
  3. As a class, ask students to volunteer the most valuable right from their answers and write them up on the board for students to see and process.  Then discuss as a class: why or why not certain rights belong up there, if there are any rights should be taken off and are there any that are missing from the list.
  4. Pass out the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” -Plain Language Version by United Nations Cyber School Bus, and ask students in pairs to see if any of their answers matched the rights listed in the UDHR.  Ask students if there are any they need to be explained more thoroughly or need an example of. Have students, on their worksheet, pick and write one right that they had listed and was also listed on the UDHR, one right that they did not come up with on their own but was on the UDHR, one right that they were surprised to see on the list, and if there are any they feel that their own country does not offer to everyone.
  5. *Suggested Media Resource: – Video “What are Human Rights?” Running time is 9:30 and is very engaging.  Explains what human rights are and the history and future of human rights.


  1. Ask the students “what words, images, or people come to mind when you hear the word CHOCOLATE?” Then ask “what words, images, or people come to mind when you hear the word GOLD?”  “What words, images, or people come to mind when you hear the word EDUCATION?” Write their answers on the board.
  2. Ask students whether CHOCOLATE, GOLD, or EDUCATION is “worth” the most? Think about what people are willing to sacrifice in order to gain these things? Ask students to make their choice and write it on their own piece of paper.  Then take a class vote to see which one the class thinks is worth the most. Circle the winning choice on the board
  3. Ask students where they think these things are made or developed, and by whom? For example, EDUCATION is managed at the state and local level, and you could say the principal runs the school, or perhaps the superintendent runs the county. Have students volunteer answers and then have the class choose the best answers and write them on the board.
  4. Tell the students that they are going to watch one news station’s answer to where and who is making chocolate. As a class check your answers about chocolate after watching the short video from the BBC, “Cocoa farms in Ivory Coast still using child labour”.
    • Remind them that although major companies have made attempts to stop children from making chocolate, it is far more difficult to carry this mission out at the local level from farm to farm.
  5. Tell students they will learn one answer about where and who is making gold. Introduce the children to the geography of Burkina Faso by pointing out the image of the map of Africa at the beginning of the story “Children Mining for Gold in Burkina Faso”, and then read the story either together or in groups to gain background and understanding about child labor in Burkina Faso’s gold mines. After the reading is finished, ask students to write down answers to these questions on their own paper:
    • Middle School Common Core Questions
      • Determine what is the central idea of the story.
      • Cite five examples from the text that supports your interpretation of what is the central idea of the story.
    • High School Common Core Questions
      • Determine two or more central ideas from the story and analyze how these arguments develop throughout the text.
      • Write a short summary of the text.
  6. Show students the video from the story of child gold mining in Burkina Faso.
  7. As a class allow students time to process what they have seen and answer any questions they may have.
    • High School Common Core Questions:
      • Evaluate how the different sources of information (text, video story, and video essay) provided   different on the subject?
        • *Prepare students to be able to integrate information from all three (or two) formats into their  answers in the assessment options below.

Assessment options

  1. Ask students to brainstorm what they can do to help end child labor. Show students Creative Visions’ power point about sending messages and how to do it well.  Have students create their own text or multimedia messages (possibly as a Public Service Announcement, or PSA for short) about the topic of children mining in Burkina Faso for gold based on the key steps in the power point, their knowledge of human rights, and their ability to create an informative text to examine and convey complex ideas.

Resources on creating PSAs

Rock Your World