Friday, October 19, 2012

Share your ideas with me!

I teach in a school with the IB diploma program.  When students take IB History they have to write what is called an Internal Assessment (IA).  The IA is basically a research paper based on an essential question.  Most teachers encourage students to research a question based in the 20th century, because a majority of the curriculum is focused on that time period.  What I find is that many students want to write about the Holocaust.  Because I work at the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, most of the History teachers send the students interested in studying the Holocaust to me for guidance.  I really enjoy working with these students, but find that most of the time they just want to describe life/death/medical experiments in the camps, which does not really address an essential question.  I’ve suggested topics like examining the different experiences of men and women in the camps.  I’ve also encouraged kids to think about the use of science in justifying policies, like German eugenics programs.   I wasn’t sure if anyone had any other great ideas I could suggest for students.  I want to make sure I don’t give students a topic they are not intellectually able to handle—in other words I sometimes fear they will come to an “inappropriate” conclusion because the complexity of the topic is too difficult for them to really understand.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!   

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