The goal of the lesson will be to evaluate some of the major events that took place in the early twentieth century and spend a week discussing and analyzing each of these acts of genocide. The entire unit will be planned for a five-week period, with each week being devoted to a specific genocide that took place within history and the final week being devoted to students completing a project. Throughout the curriculum unit, students will be given opportunities not only to learn about the historical content, but also to analyze maps and other visual representations about each of these horrific events. It is during this time that students will be able to take what they have learned from the lessons and apply it not only to map analysis, but to various map activities as well.
The various map activities embedded within this unit include having students create mind maps about specific genocide and having students map out what they think the impact of genocide would have on a village or town. With the instructional blueprint established, the overall purpose of this unit will be for students not only to gain an understanding of genocides that have taken place prior to the holocaust, but also to gain a deeper understanding of the impact these horrific acts had on groups of individuals involved or whole areas of a population. The maps and activities chosen for the curriculum will not only be used as supporting resources to teach the content, rather as tools for students to use in order to expand their own thinking and better express their thoughts and ideas. The unit will focus on using maps not only as a way to illustrate and exemplify the story of the crimes against humanity that took place throughout the early twentieth century, but rather as examples for students use and reflect on while they navigate their own thoughts on the topics covered.
The curriculum unit will highlight four major events that took place throughout the early twentieth century. The first event covered within this unit is the Namibian genocide, a consequence of Germany’s colonial power ambitions in Africa. The second will focus on the Armenian genocide and the impact it had on the people living within the Ottoman Empire as a result of their displacement. The third will focus on the Ukrainian famine or Holodomor, a genocide that took place under Soviet rule in the early 1930s and Stalin’s attempt at ethnic cleansing. The final event covered is the Japanese invasion of Nanking prior to the start of World War II, with a focus on showing not only the physical impact that these attacks had on the people of Nanking, but also the psychological impact of the Japanese actions as well.