Genocide in the 20th century

Subject: History
Summary: Students work in groups to find information about the genocides of the 20th century. Students have to present this information to their peers and use examples to strengthen their arguments.
Activity length: Duration is 45 minutes.
  • Students learn to understand three common features of genocide.
  • Students enhance the ability to present and evaluate the information from the Internet and to provide examples to their claims.

Each student pair should have access to Internet. Alternatively, teacher prepares 4 articles for each student pair about genocides at hand.

Teacher prepares handouts table (see additional notes) for each group or student.


Part 1: Students are to prepare the definition of genocide in their own words. These definitions are written down. Teacher instructs the students to search for the definition of genocide from textbooks or online. These definitions are compared with the student ones.

Part 2: Students are divided into four groups. All of the groups are given a paper with the table below (Appendix 1). Their task is to find information on the Internet and fill in the table.  Each group is given one of the examples to focus on and later presents the results of its work, so that they prepare the three-minute speech about a genocide. They have to cover all the required fields on the table. Rest of the class has to fill in the table using the information provided by other groups.

Part 3: Discussion with the students focus on the reflection of the information. Why did these genocides take place? Which of the genocides did you find the most horrific? What can we do to avoid genocides in the future?


Teacher tests the knowledge obtained in the next class.

Additional notes:
  Holocaust Armenian genocide Cambodian genocide Rwanda genocide
Oppressed group        
Examples of oppression        
Situation today