Man’s Inhumanity to Man Language Arts Lesson Plans

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Man’s Inhumanity to Man

Language Arts Lesson Plans
In this 6-7 week unit students will examine events in history that are evidence of man's inhumanity to man. Students will participate in the Kick-Off Activity on the first day, read Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr, and then work in literature circles to read Night, Elie Weisel's personal account of his experiences during the Holocaust. Science and Social Studies classes will also teach lessons that connect to the larger theme of Man's Inhumanity to Man. Following are summaries of the content of those classes, and then there are detailed lesson plans for the language arts classes.

In science students will take an in depth look at the inhumane experiments that were conducted by Dr. Mengele and others in the concentration camps. They will learn that after the war ended there was much debate about whether the results of these inhumane experiments should be used to improve current medical practices. Students will debate this issue informally before they are exposed to some of the ways that lives are now saved because of what was learned in these experiments. They will also study nuclear energy with an emphasis on the risks and rewards to humans and the environment.

Social Studies

In this thematic unit students will study three periods of history in which people treated others in an inhumane way. First students will study the history of slavery in the USA using From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester. Students will then discuss segregation by studying the modern Civil Right movement using Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissick, poems by Langston Hughes, music by various groups, listening to oral histories and art. They will also complete a research paper on a significant Civil Right's activist. Finally, students will study WWII using their textbooks and watch the video "Holocaust on Trial." They will write an opinion paper after viewing the evidence presented in a British trial in which David Irving attempted to support his belief that the Holocaust never happened.

Language Arts (including information about the author of Night)

In language arts class students will read the book Night by Elie Weisel. As a teenager, Elie Wiesel was taken from his home in Transylvania to camps in first Poland and later in Germany. He has written about his experiences as a Jew in the camps in a way that is both powerful and graphically visual. He has become one of the world's foremost public speakers about the subject. His eye witness account of the brutality and horror of the Holocaust will help students "see" what happened.

For this unit, students in all four homerooms will be mixed together in literature circles to complete a written project and create a performance piece based on what they read. This is especially significant because even students in the Spanish bilingual class will be integrated into groups.

Language Arts Lesson Plans

Day One:

Students will participate in an activity that imitates man's inhumanity to man. The main goal of this is to help students understand how easy it is for an individual or group to gain enough power to treat others poorly, and that fear often keeps the general population from standing up for those that are abused. (See attached.)
Days Two-Four:

While teachers are carefully putting students into literature circle groups, all students will read Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes in class and learn how to make oragami cranes.

Students will receive a copy of the book Night and read the first section of the book.
Day Five:

Students will be put into their literature circles. The student handout will be distributed and explained. Students will finish reading section one (pages 1-26).


Days 1-4: Students will work in their groups to compile the information they will need from section one for their written work.

Day 5: Students will be given some class time to begin reading section two (pages 27-54).

Days 1-4: Students will work in their groups to compile the information they will need from section one for their written work.

Day 5: Students will be given some class time to begin reading section three (pages 54-80).

Days 1-4: Students will work in their groups to compile the information they will need from section one for their written work.

Day 5: Students will be given some class time to begin reading section four, the final section (pages 80-109).


Days 1-4: Students will complete their written work and turn in the written project. (See attached rubric.)

Day 5: Students will decide what type of performance they want to do for the team and begin to outline or storyboard the content of their presentation.

Students will work on their presentations with their group. Some will need access to technology for power point presentations. Others will need art supplies. Some may need video recorders and space for filming. Some may need access to copy machines and/or word processing. Students will have a "dress rehearsal" on Friday with another group in order to get suggestions for final improvements.


Students will perform for the teams. (See attached rubric.)
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