Who Has Rights? Who Has Privileges?

3, 4, 5

Students play a game that explores the difference between rights and privileges and challenges their expectations about basic rights. Students will explore the issue of education as a right that not everyone has access to.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define rights and privileges.
  • analyze daily expectations as rights or privileges.
  • recognize that not everyone has access to the basic right of education.
  • Handouts are for teacher background.
  • privilege: an advantage that some have and others do not
  • rights: things or services that are owed to you as a citizen or member of a society
  • service: taking action to benefit the well-being of others

Ask students to reflect on the question, "If education is a right, why don't all children go to school?" Then have them write a response or propose an action that people can take to help all children go to school.


  1. Preparation: This game is best played in an open area, but it can be played in a large room with the furniture pushed aside. All players face each other in two rows. Each team has a home base line about 30 feet behind them that they run to in each round. The home base line may be formed with a rope, tape, or any other marker.

    Anticipatory Set:

    Write the words rights and privileges on the board. Tell students that they are going to play a game called “Rights and Privileges.” Define the two terms and discuss their definitions briefly. Have a few children paraphrase what these terms mean and give examples. Proceed with the game described below when all children have a clear understanding of the terms.

  2. Assign half the participants to be “rights” and have them line up, shoulder-to-shoulder, facing the other half of the group who are “privileges.” The children stand in these lines about six feet apart from one another.

  3. Show students the “home” line behind each line-up. The two groups run to safety past the lines behind them. While the two teams face each other, the facilitator reads aloud a statement. If the statement is an example of a right, the “rights” run to their back line while the “privileges” try to tag them. If tagged, the tagged person joins the other team. If the facilitator reads an example of a privilege, the “privileges” run to their safety line while the “rights” try to tag them.

  4. After players run and before asking the next question, talk about whether the statement is a right or privilege. If some players ran the wrong way and got tagged, they are forgiven and may return to their team.

  5. Example statements:

    1. Everyone is born free and cannot be a slave. (right)
    2. All humans have a car. (privilege)
    3. All humans have a phone. (privilege)
    4. Everyone gets three meals a day, plus snacks. (privilege)
    5. Everyone is equal. (right)
    6. All humans should own at least five sets of clothes. (privilege)
    7. Everyone should have an adequate amount of food. (right)
    8. All humans have a safe place to rest. (right)
    9. Everyone has access to TV. (privilege)
    10. Everyone can practice their beliefs. (right)
    11. Everyone owns a DVD player and cable TV. (privilege)
    12. All humans get an education. (right)
  6. Ask the following questions as a reflection after the game:

    • What are some privileges that we have here that other people in the world might not have? (Discuss free speech and religious freedom.)
    • What are some basic rights that you have at school? Do you think everyone deserves these same rights?
    • Is attending school a privilege or a right?
    • Who has the right to get an education?

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Explain the difference between wants and needs.