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This series of lessons is organized as a mini-unit for teaching the Armenian Genocide. They were designed to complement Facing History and Ourselves' resource books, Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior and Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians. Most of these lessons are designed to be used with the film The Armenian Genocide (Two Cats Productions), which aired on PBS on April 17, 2006. These texts depict, in words or images, evidence of horrible atrocities such as murder and starvation. We recommend previewing materials in order to gauge if they are appropriate given the maturity level of your students.While we estimate that teaching all seven lessons would require approximately 10 hours of class time, we know that the actual pacing of these lessons depends on your students and your context. These lessons can also by used individually with the understanding that the later lessons rely on students' previous knowledge of the Armenian Genocide. It is our hope that you use these lessons as a jumping off point in creating learning experiences that will engage students in the history of the Armenian Genocide and the important questions this history raises about human behavior. Language note: While this unit is titled "The Genocide of the Armenians," the word genocide did not exist in 1915 when the Armenians were being massacred and forced on death marches. To avoid historical anachronism, the first seven lessons of this unit circumvent the use of the word "genocide" with students. The final lesson introduces students to the modern term "genocide," and to the different ways people claim or deny this term. You might choose to introduce students to the term "genocide" earlier in the unit, while informing them that the events they are learning about inspired the genesis of this term. Something to think about: The purpose of these lessons is to help students understand a particular moment in history, the Armenian Genocide, as a way to explore core questions about human behavior. While students are asked to travel across time and space in order to connect this history to their own ideas and experiences, it would be irresponsible for students to make generalizations about a particular religious or national group that cuts across time and place. In other words, students should be strongly discouraged from seeing this history as a lesson about all Turks, all Muslims, all Armenians, or all Americans, in the same way that scholars who teach about the Holocaust are careful not to condemn all Germans or all Christians for acts committed by the Nazis and their followers.
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