Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Race and Ethnicity
Joanne L. Finley
Time Frame:
5 -6 class periods, 50 minutes each
Nuremberg War Crimes Trials

Grade Levels:
11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Both Cooperative Learning and Individual assignments


Students need to understand that genocide is not an isolated historical event. They need to understand the causes of genocide and challenges in trying to move a country forward.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

Show Me Standards, Social Studies: relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions, the use of tools of social science inquiry. Goals: students will acquire the knowledge and skills to gather, analyze, and apply information and ideas; students will acquire the knowledge and skills to recognize and solve problems.


Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

1. (A) analyzes a theme in United States history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Text, Sociology: a down to earth approach by James Henslin; BBC News Timeline: Rwanda; CIA map of Rwanda, BBC News Country profile: Rwanda; "Facing the Truth with Bill Moyers."

Videos: "A Good Man in Hell" and clips from "Hotel Rwanda"

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • First person accounts of genocide in Rwanda, Rwanda: Eyewitness to Genocide www.historywiz.com/rwanda-eyewitness.htm;
  • Pacfique Mukeshimana, www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/fellows/rwanda1103/portrait-1.html
  • Domina Nyirandayambajae, www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/fellows/rwanda1103/portrait-2.html.
  • BBC News "Living Among the Dead"; International Military Tribunal"
  • Technology Required:

    TV and DVD Player

    Full description of activity or assignment.

    Students will have read the text assignment on race and ethnicity.
    Major points covered in text and lecture prior to activity: Louis Wirth's definition of a minority: a minority group consists of people who are singled out for unequal treatment and regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination. Also that minority is not based on status but on political power and discrimination. The students will also understand how a group becomes a member of a minority group through political boundaries and migration. The learner will also understand the five characteristics that minority groups share according to anthropologists Charles Wagle and Marvin Harris: membership of a minority group is an ascribed status, the physical or cultural traits that distinguish minorities are held in low self-esteem by the dominant group; minorities are unequally treated by the dominant group; minorities tend to marry within their own group, and minorities tend to feel strong group solidarity. Source for the above material is Sociology: a down to earth approach By James Henslin, 7th edition, 2005.

    Students will be divided into groups of three. Each group will have a time line of Rwanda, a time line of the genocide, and a map of Rwanda. Each group will have a first person account of the genocide as a victim or as a perpetrator. One group will also have as their person Romeo Dallaire

    As a class they will view the video, "A Good Man in Hell."

    As a class they will see clips of "Hotel Rwanda."

    In their groups they will prepare collages representing the information they gained from their group activities, video clips, and the experiences of their person.

    Students, in their groups, will research two means of reconciliation: Nuremberg Trials, truth and reconciliation tribunals of South Africa. Students will have handouts giving them information on both. Media center time will be scheduled so groups can further research both examples. They will then formulate a proposal for the Rwandan government on how to obtain justice for the victims and to heal their country. Each group will present their proposal and its possible consequences and drawbacks.

    The class as a whole will come to a consensus on which proposal or will create a hybrid solution based on many proposals

    Students will then complete self-evaluations and write reflection essays at the conclusion of this unit.



    Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

    Students will complete self-evaluations and write reflection essays at the conclusion of this unit.

    Scoring guides: http://www.rubrics4teachers.com/ was used to help develop scoring guides for products