Better Days Canada

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17-Year-Old ZOE . L 

Lesson Plan:  The Learning Network

Social Justice & Human Rights

Subjects for Critical Thinking

  • Music / English / Media
  • Psychology / Sociology
  • Civics / Economics
  • Public Administration 
  • Government & Politics
  • Philosophy / History
  •  Human Rights / Law 

Topic: Music Protesting Racial Injustice Human Rights Violations

The lesson is to appreciate music as a force for social exploration and transformation to advance human rights progress.  Music, in this context is our primary source for studying human rights.


Human Rights violations are paradigms that are entrenched behaviours but can be changed by cultural shifts through social forces and legislation.

Protest Songs

Students are going to learn about the creative power of protest songs to influence legislation which protects human rights.

Lesson Outline

Warm Up Materials

Read protest song lyrics written by Black, White and Indigenous artists from Bob Dylan to Bob Marley and Snotty Nose Rez Kids. Also listen to snippets of protest music:
  • "Powerpoint" Type of Notes
  • Music Video
  • Infographics
  • Audio Mp3 Files

Practice Protest Song Trivia

Practice identifying protest songs and the current and/or historical issues which they tackle.

  • Supporting Facts                                                                     (Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud)
  • Evidence (Grave Digger)
  • Precedent (Blowing In The Wind)


Music & Human Rights Appreciation Activities Include:

  • Read protest song lyrics
  • Listen & Watch Concert
  • View music video
  • Sing: call-and-response song
  • Answer Quiz Questions

Formative Testing

An informal quiz will monitor student learning during the lesson with a 5 second countdown buzzer. 

  • Vocabulary Test
  • Fill in the blank Test
  • Multiple Choice Test
  • Matching Test
  • True or False Test 

Lesson Outcomes


Music has the power to effectively educate people about human rights abuses because "music is a universal language."

Power to the People

Background knowledge of the international civil unrest following the  2020 killing of George Floyd helps one appreciate Zoe.L's Better Days protest song as a commentary of the larger context of anti-Black racism in light of the issue of race-based police brutality. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe how protest songs benefit human rights in society.
  • Explain three goals protest songs seek to achieve, and easily, identify protest songs past and present. 
  • Differentiate between Human Rights and Civil Rights.

Classroom Discussion

How can listening to the protest music of various artists can inspire people to embrace both Human Rights and Civil Rights to protect themselves and their fellow human beings?

Small Group Questions:

Watch the lyric music video, Better Days--a protest song from 2020--while jotting down a few lines that jump out at you.

To go deeper, review your notes while listening to the song again--perhaps use a highlighter the second time around, to emphasize what provokes you, in the song, to think about the issue of oppression and racial discrimination.

After reviewing the music video, thinking critically about the meaning behind the lyrics, answer the following questions:

1) How many different Human Rights stories does the song reference?

2) What is your perspective on the issue of racial discrimination? 

3) How does the song capture the spirit of the times with international protests against anti-black racism in 2020.



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