Berlin Wall 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.

Want to break down barriers with your instruction on the Berlin Wall? Study.com makes it easy to do with an exciting video lesson and hands-on in class activity.

Learning Objectives:

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

  • describe the Berlin Wall
  • explain why and how the Berlin Wall came into existence
  • visualize the boundaries of the Berlin Wall
  • understand the experiences of the German citizens at this point in history
  • outline the reasons for the fall of the Berlin Wall

Length

30 minutes to 1 hour

Materials

  • A few video clips of actual footage of the Berlin Wall falling in 1989
  • Photocopies of a map of Germany

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.9

Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Instructions

  • Begin by selecting several pieces of video footage of the Berlin Wall falling. Mute the sound as you play these videos for the class.
  • When the students have viewed the images you selected, ask them what they think is going on in the footage. What can the expressions and actions of the people featured in the clips tell you about the event and its significance? Write their ideas on the board.
  • Now play the Study.com video lesson Building and Tearing Down the Berlin Wall: History and Timeline, pausing at 0:35.
  • Review the ideas presented by students earlier in the lesson and written on the board. How do they compare with the information presented so far in the video lesson? Did anyone correctly identify the events in the footage as the falling of the Berlin Wall?
  • Have students brainstorm some ideas for how and why the Berlin Wall came into being in the first place. Write these on the board.
  • Play the video lesson again, pausing at 3:47.
  • Once again, review the ideas of the students regarding how the Berlin Wall came to exist. Did the information presented in the video lesson support their ideas? Why or why not? Discuss this as a class.
  • Pass out the photocopies on the map of Germany, one per student.
  • As a class, research the boundaries of the Berlin Wall (you could use the internet or books). Now have them sketch the parameters of the Berlin Wall on their maps.
  • When all students have finished drawing the Berlin Wall on their maps, have the class reconsider the footage they watched at the start of the lesson along with the information presented thus far about the Berlin Wall. With that in mind, ask students to brainstorm potential reasons for the wall's eventual fall. List these on the board.
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson. Did the reasons that the students came up with ring true with the actual events that occurred in the fall of the Berlin Wall? Why or why not? Discuss as a class.

Extensions

  • Have students work in small groups to research and report on countries who have built walls of fortification throughout history. Have any withstood the test of time?
  • Ask students to profile the experience of an individual who was present at the falling of the Berlin wall. What was this person's experience like? How has his or her life changed as a result of the wall coming down?

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