by Tiffanie Goff, Zia Middle School
This WebQuest is designed to extend student knowledge of the word genocide, heighten student awareness of genocides throughout the world, and take a stand on whether it is another country's responsibility to prevent these acts of mass murder.
In my many years of teaching every grade level from 8th to 12th, World War II and/or the events of the Holocaust has often played some part in the curriculum, whether it directly relates to the literature or is necessary to understand the time period. While designing a unit to explore this transformational time in our world's history with 8th graders, I realized that my students would benefit from a more expansive understanding of the term genocide, including its origin and the many instances in which it has occurred (group presentations). In addition, I also wanted to spark their empathy for others in the world (memorial creation) and make them take a stand that would lead them to comprehend the complexity of the issue of responsibility in our country and world today (persuasive letter).
After three years of using this Web Quest in my Literature and Composition classes, I can honestly say that the students have always surprised me with their eagerness to research and gain knowledge of their chosen country and its darkest hour. They have encouraged me with their enlightened awareness of a world outside their own, along with their creative endeavors to honor the fallen victims of that world. Finally, I have enjoyed and appreciated their insightful and well-supported opinions concerning this complicated and thorniest of issues.