Genocide Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Do your students know what genocide is? A text lesson provides critical information while a small group activity allows for deeper study. Optional extensions and related lessons support ongoing instruction.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'genocide'
  • list examples of genocide
  • analyze examples of genocide throughout history


45 minutes to 1 hour

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

Key Vocabulary

  • Genocide


  • Begin by asking students to define 'genocide.'
  • Have them share their definitions for class discussion as you write key points on the board.
  • Now have students read the introduction and What is Genocide? sections of the text lesson What is Genocide? - Definition, History & Examples.
  • Review the class discussion on genocide and fill in any missing elements now.
  • Ask the students what some examples of genocide might be and have them share their ideas with the class, again writing these on the board.
  • Now have them read the Examples of Genocide section of the text lesson.
  • Did the class identify any of the examples of genocide that were presented in the lesson?
  • Next have students brainstorm behaviors that might lead to or contribute to genocide.
  • Ask the class to share their ideas for discussion.
  • Now have the class read the rest of the text lesson.
  • Did any of the behaviors they listed appear in the text lesson? Discuss this briefly as you review the content of the text lesson with the class.

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