Comparing two occurrences of genocide
An Internet WebQuest on Genocide

created by Claudia Chaten

Introduction | The Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary


Picture this: you and a team of learners are presented with the task of describing an elephant. But instead of looking to an encyclopedia or a zoo exhibit, you are each blindfolded and guided to a real elephant. Each of you touches a different part of the animal: one, the soft and delicate tip of the elephant's trunk; another, the hard tusk of ivory; and a third, the wrinkled hide around the elephant's belly.

Based upon what each of you learned, one thinks an elephant is smooth and soft, another would say an elephant is smooth and hard, while the last would conclude that elephants are rough and soft. What's the truth? When we study complex topics, we are often like the elephant examiners: there's usually a lot more to a topic that we don't learn about after only a quick exploration.

This is particularly true when we use the Internet for our research because many people post their personal opinions or only know a sliver of the whole story. In the following WebQuest, you will use the power of teamwork and the abundant resources on the Internet to learn all about Genocide. Each person on your team will learn one piece of the puzzle and then you will come together to get a better understanding of the topic.

The Quest

What explains man's inhumanity to man?

The Process and Resources

In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about Genocide. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom.

You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

Everyone should read the background information on the Holocaust and the Cambodian Genocide. Look in your class notes besides the Internet sites listed. Below are some sites that give some additional information for you.

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives


1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into answering the Big Quest(ion) based on what you have learned from the links for your role.

People Investigators

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Peoople Interpretors:

Read at least two survivor stories from the Cambodia site and two from the Holocaust site. What are your impressions from these stories? Were the stories similar or different? In what ways? Who were these victims? Were these victims from certain ethnic, religious, or social classes? What about the perpetrators? Describe them. What kind of people were they? Look at the photos of the victims and the camps/prison. What are some adjectives that descirbe the surroundings and the victims? Why is it important to document these pictures. Your group must write at least two pages comparing and contrasting the victims and perpetrators of the two genocides.

Content Investigators

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Content Investigators:

Describe the cultural, economic, and political circumstances of the two occurrences of genocide. How do both the Nazi and the Khmer Rouge regimes use extremist ideology and propaganda to further their respective goals? In what ways did both both regimes show a callous indifference for human life? In what ways were both societies closed? How did these closed societies affect the victims and the perpetrators? Your group must write at least two pages comparing and contrasting the political, social, and economic societis of the two regimes. In your answer, describe how such characteristics contributed to the genocide.

Outcome Investigators

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Outcome Investigators:
What happened to Hitler? What was the outcome of The Nuremberg Trials? Who were these defendents that were on trial and what were their crimes?
What happened to Pol Pot? From the reading on the UN - Cambodia Tribunal Agreement, answer these questions: Which side brought this agreement? What is the date on the agreement? Who does the Cambodian government want to bring to trial? Where will the trial be held? Who will judge, investigate, procsecute and defend the cases? What is the crime that is described? How is it defined? What is the maximum penalty? Who must approve the Agreement before it becomes effective?
After understanding this Agreement, your group is to write a two page essay comparing anc contrasting the Nuremberg Trial with this Agreement. How are they similar and/or diffenent? In your answer, explain why it has taken so long for the Cambodian trial to occur. Given the United States actions in Cambodia during the Vietnam War, do you think some enlightening or embarrassing information may come about about America's role in the events? Just give your opinion on this.

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

You have all learned about a different part of Genocide. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from your research You must all now answer the Quest(ion) as a group. Besides this Webquest, also use classroom materials and readings we have studied on the Holocaust and World War II. Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with. This should be at least one page in length.

Phase 4 - Real World Feedback

You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles. Now's the time to put your learning into a letter you'll send out for real world feedback. Together you will write a letter that contains opinions, information, and perspectives that you've gained. Here's the process:

1. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing your message to this particular person or organization.

2. Give background information that shows you understand the topic.


3. Each person in your group should write a paragraph that gives two good reasons supporting the group's opinion. Make sure to be specific in both the information (like where you got it from on the Web) and the reasoning (why the information proves your group's point).

4. Have each person on the team proofread the message. Use correct letter format and make sure you have correctly addressed the email message. Use the link below to make contact. Send your message and make sure your teacher gets a copy. Your group can decide who to send this letter to. Some possible ones are the UN, the Prevent Genocide International organization, etc.

Your Contact is: the designated contact


So is an elephant smooth, rough, soft, or hard? Well, when you're blindfolded and only *looking* at one part, it's easy to come up with an answer that may not be completely right. It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as Genocide: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of Genocide could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.

 created by Filamentality Content by Claudia Chaten,
Last revised Sat Dec 6 0:44:03 US/Pacific 2003