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Submitted by Sara Fernandez and William Ferry, Bridgewater-Raritan High School

LESSON SUMMARY: The lesson is to be used as a genocide overview or as an introduction to Holocaust /Genocide Studies.

TIME FRAME: 2 day lesson (1 period research/ 1 period presentations)


NEW JERSEY CORE STANDARDS: 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.7, 6.8

OBJECTIVES: The students will be able to:

  1. Identify acts of genocide (with a focus on religious persecution).
  2. Gain experience in group preparation/presentation skills.
  3. Become aware that acts of genocide have been going on throughout human history and continue today.


  1. Informational resources (handouts, books, websites) for the students
  2. Art supplies


  1. Teacher will define and discuss the term “genocide.”
    • Genocide is the deliberate destruction of a racial, religious, ethnic or national group. An International Genocidal Treaty was drafted following World War 1. It was approved in 1948 and ratified by the U.S. in 1988. This “treaty” does not include mass killings of class, gender, or political groups (though most current historians include these).
  2. Student cooperative teams will research an act of religious based genocide from the following list: (or any other approved) N.B.- If the lesson plan is being used as an introduction to Holocaust studies, the genocide of European Jews should be omitted.
    • Armenians of Turkey (1915-1922)
    • Jews of Europe (WWII)
    • Buddhists in Tibet (1950-1959)
    • Ireland (Potato Famine)
    • Rwandan
    • Bosnia
    • Kosovo
  3. Possible Cooperative Team Roles:
    • Task Facilitator
    • Researcher(s)
    • Presenter
    • Recorder
    • Artist (Visual)
  4. Student teams will create a presentation (10 minute) on their assigned topic. This will include: a) verbal description (of the situation) b) written summary c)some type of visual (i.e. pictures, maps, etc.) d) team decision as to whether or not this (in their opinion) constitutes an act of genocide/ justify decision.


  1. Presentations will be graded
  2. Students will take notes on each presentation (to be collected and graded).
  3. Students will develop an essay (for homework) incorporating the following questions:
    • How did this genocide occur?
    • What can the world do to prevent this and future acts of genocide from occurring?

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