WAR child Canada’s: GENOCIDE

By: War Child Canada www.warchild.ca/docs/genocide.pdf
Adapted by: Sara P. Chavarria

Time: 4 days
Materials: Overhead 1: Ponder Questions
Handout 1: Genocide in the 20th century
Handout 2: “8 Stages of Genocide”
White poster board per class.
Blank overhead sheets for note-taking


The purpose of this lesson is to help students put into perspective why an organization such as the United Nations is necessary by introducing them to one of the most atrocious acts of human inequality in the world: Genocide. By understanding why genocide occurs they should gain a better understanding of how common it is and how necessary their awareness is if it is to be eradicated.

Students will identify reasons genocide occurs through group research into specific Genocide incidents of the 20th century.

Standards (NCHS)
NCHS Era8: A half-century of crisis and achievement, 1900-1945.
Standard 5: Major global trends from 1900 to the end of World War II
NCHS Era9: The 20th century since 1945: Promises and Paradoxes
Standard 2: The search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world.
Standards in Historical Thinking
4B – Obtain historical data.
5A – Identify issues and problems in the past.

Resource Websites



Days 1-3
1. Setting the Stage. Display Overhead 1 which reads: In 1945 the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and spurred a new chapter in World Ethical politics. At the end of this War, the world learned that the Nazi war machine had taken Genocide to a whole new level. But was Genocide something that had never happened before? Could it happen again?
Offer students these Ponder questions: Why did the world deem it necessary to create a United Nations that addressed Human Rights? Would they do this if they thought genocide could never happen again?

2. As Teacher writes answers on an overhead, ask students to offer ideas they have of situations that might be categorized as genocidal. (The list created should be in their notes.) To help them, pose the question: What could be some of the causes of genocide?
To help prompt students ask them: When people are killed do the murderers steal from them? What do they steal? (The same things can be applied to a much grander scale in answer to causes of genocide!)

Possible answers:
Control of land which grows food, has water, and other valued items.
Resources like technology, trade ports, buildings, etc.
A Power play between two groups that hate each other over beliefs (political or philosophical).

3. Provide students with the actual list of genocides (Handout 1) that have occurred in the 20th century. Inform students that this is only a sampling of cases. Yes – there are more!

4. Handout the article entitled “8 Stages of Genocide” and allow students some
time to read through it. *Note: Language may need to be simplified depending upon grade level of students.

5. Put students in groups of four and assign each group a genocide Event to research.

6. Students will be provided with library time and one visit to the computer room to research their topic and produce the following:
a. A one page summary of the selected genocide that includes a map showing the location of the genocide Event (country or region in country), and that identifies the murderers and their ‘reasons’ for genocide. They will also identify the murdered group and address the question: Why were they targeted?
b. A display board that categorizes the history of their genocide Event using the 8 stages of genocide (Handout 2) to help you break down this history.

8 stages of genocide:

c. A timeline that traces the history of the country in which the genocide Event occurred in order to answer the question: What led to genocide in this country?
d. A symbolic emblem/image to represent the genocide that they have researched. This emblem/image can be placed on a large classroom timeline or as part of a classroom wall collage once all research projects have been completed.

Day 4
7. Each group will have 5 minutes to present their findings to the class. They must take notes in order to answer the following questions:
- What are some of the causes of genocide?
- Can genocide be prevented?
- What are similarities or differences noted from presentations?
- Is there anywhere in the world right now which could potentially be ripe for genocide?
- What actions can be taken bv you or the government to prevent genocide from occurring?
*Questions will be answered as a homework assignment or the teacher may want to answer them in class.

8. At the end of the presentations, the class will create a poster that lists why Genocide occurs and all students are invited to sign the poster after a statement that BOLDLY says: Never Again – Genocide must End!

9. Closure. End by now posing the question. How can children, who traditionally have no rights to vote in any country, ensure their access to Equal Rights?

*Steps 1 & 2 were adapted from a lesson plan developed by Michael H. Reggio entitled “Genocide, Torture, Human Rights: Where Are We Headed?” This lesson can be viewed at: http://www.constitutioncenter.org/sections/teacher/lesson_plans/html/41213a.asp

Embedded Assessment

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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