Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about rights and responsibilities The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie RIghts and Responsibilities. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

Empower your children to become good citizens by helping them understand rights and responsibilities. A citizen is a member of a community. Explain that a community can be small, like a classroom or school, or large, like a city, state, or country. The global community includes everyone on Earth. Remind your children that everyone is a member of a community and everyone has a responsibility to maintain it. Invite your children to name different communities that they are a part of, such as a family, sports team, club, religious affiliation, class, school, neighborhood, or town.

A responsibility is a duty or something someone should do. A responsibility can be a chore at home or school or it can be following rules, helping other community members, and making positive changes. When someone works to help the whole community, he or she works for the common good. Obeying laws is an important responsibility. A law is a rule set by a community that tells how to behave or act. Different communities have different laws. For example, the United States has laws that govern the entire country, while a state has laws that govern the state. Cities, towns, and neighborhoods have their own laws to govern themselves. Help your children understand that if a community member breaks a law, there are consequences. Laws help protect citizens’ rights. If a law is unfair, it is the community’s responsibility to change the law. Laws can be amended or changed when responsible citizens take action. We recommend watching the Local and State Government movie together as a review.

A right is a freedom that is protected. Citizens of different countries have different rights. In the United States, the Bill of Rights is part of the Constitution and states certain freedoms that cannot be taken away from any citizen. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion. Another freedom is the right to assembly, which means people can gather and discuss. Leaders establish laws to help protect peoples’ rights. Older students may wish to watch BrainPOP’s movie on the Bill of Rights to learn about each of the amendments.

Help children to understand that they have rights, but they also have responsibilities. Everyone has the right to practice their own religion, but everyone has the responsibility to respect people of different religions. In school, every child has the right to learn, but every child has the responsibility of arriving to school on time, completing homework, and following school and class rules.

Voting is a right and a responsibility. In the United States, a citizen can vote if they are a legal citizen and at least 18 years old. Voters have the responsibility to learn about the candidates and proposed laws. Encourage your child to become an active citizen and learn about issues that affect them in the classroom, at school, and in their communities. Empower them to make changes in areas they see need improvement and vote for leaders they believe support their own opinions and views.