Genetics and the Holocaust Instructional Page


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How did Nazi interpretations of genetics affect the Holocaust, and how have viewpoints and technology about genetics changed since then? Compare the Nazi's use of eugenics to the North Carolina eugenics policy.

Cross-curricular: Biology and US history/world history
Expanded cross-curricular: Biology, US/world history, English by adding The Giver and Unwind

Resources: - Early Persecution - Euthanasia Program - "Labeled" short movie - American roots of Nazi Eugenics - "Nazi Eugenics" from Georgetown

Basic PLAN:

Final product:
- Video documentary through ….
o Primary access = not tech-savvy
o RemixAmerica/Voicethread = middle tech.
o Windows Movie Maker/other = high end

Characteristics of good final product:
- Analysis: is eugenics ethical?
- Usage of science by Eugenicists (Nazi and NC)
- Present and Future implications of genetics and genocides
- Analysis of the effects of artificial selection in humans/other species

Science topics:
- Basic inheritance + pedigree + artificial selection
- Evidence then & now and how was information used/misused
- Does Race exist?

History topics:
- Holocaust
- Nazi Germany
- North Carolina history of eugenics
- Present/Recent examples (Darfur, Yugoslavia)

Correlation to Biology NCSCOS:
1.05 Analyze reports of scientific investigations from an informed, scientifically literate
viewpoint including considerations of Appropriate sample, Adequacy of experimental controls, Replication of findings, Alternative interpretations of the data.
3.01 Analyze the molecular basis of heredity:
3.03 Interpret and predict patterns of inheritance.
3.04 Assess the impact of advances in genomics on individuals and society.
4.04 Analyze and explain the interactive role of internal and external factors in health
and disease

Correlation to US History & World History NCSCOS:
US History 10.02, 10.03
World History 5.02, 5.03, 6.01, 6.02

- Interview / description of Nazi doctor w/o revealing information
- Interview / video of Elaine (NC eugenics) without identifying info  students try to guess where she is from?
- Simulation

Possible Entry document flow:
  1. images of Nazi prisoners
  2. Where did this occur?
  3. Picture/Answer
  4. Picture + Quote from Black Stork
  5. Who could this doctor have worked for?
  6. Possible wrong answers…
  7. NO…he was from Chicago, Illinois, right in USA
  9. Eugenics was born in the United States article top image
  10. But that’s just Illinois….
  11. Image of NC law
  12. Video of Elaine
  13. “feeble minded? Unfit? Handicapped?”
  14. This law was repealed less than 40 years ago…
  15. Should governments be allowed to slow or stop genetic problems to strengthen the society?
  16. Who decides your right to act? Reproduce? LIVE?
  17. We want to hear your voice.

Introducing content:
- After rollout - students in mindset of discrimination, Us. v. Them.
  • Is there justification, are we different?
  • Different traits *differential success/value * eliminate "bad" traits
  • Ethnic cleansing/genocide justification in the case of national security?
*Jews * NC * Eugenics
  • Genetic counseling or testing for "dangerous" genes? Eliminate them?
(main idea of final product, justified and supported by evidence from above questions)

1. Develop a NTK list - ongoing and evolving
2. Daily: audio and video and articles from both contents
3. Workshops: daily for designated topics
3b. Workshops: technology (peer-mediated?)
4. Online: Websites to visit (research) + online simulation/lab (information/science)
4b. Collaborative useful websites list (updated by students)
5. Last week: revisit rubric and plan for edits
6. Video production and post production
7. Presentation - visitors to watch (other students, community, museum staff)
8. Publication - YouTube or DVD

4 weeks
If extra materials / subjects are pulled in --> 6+ weeks?

- The Giver + Unwind = possible Language Arts connection
- The Nazi Doctors book
- Interviews/Videos/Audio from NC eugenics
- Does Race Exist Article
- History News Network: Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics
- Various websites/links