|A recent historical analysis of the Berlin Wall that is being presented to students across America suggests that tearing it down harmed East Berliners because it “disrupted their way of life.” This interpretation of history is misleading for students who are just learning about the Berlin Wall including the consequences it had for East Berliners and the urgency to tear it down. With student-centered learning, some teachers are taking the opportunity to present this history as sympathetic of communism, and even supportive of it. This lesson incorporates resources that factually present the differences in the quality of life between West and East Berlin, and the desperate desire to take down the Berlin Wall. Students will engage in civics learning as they reflect on how those who were free exercised their freedom on behalf of those who were trapped in an oppressive state.
Download Lesson Plan: Berlin Wall Lesson Plan
*Please Note: This lesson is still currently being developed, but the urgency of covering this material has encouraged us to release this lesson early. The Locke Society is working on finalizing a text set. In the meantime, however, teachers may use the recommended aim, procedure, and text resources to develop a complete lesson plan.
German-Iranian painter Kani Alavi painted the haunting mural Es Geschah im November (It Happened in November) in 1990. The abstract painting – inspired by Alavi’s own observations from his former apartment near Checkpoint Charlie – depicts the day the wall fell, with thousands of East German faces pouring through to the West. The faces show a range of different emotions in an effort to portray the mixture of confusion, joy, trepidation and liberation felt by East Germans heading over to the West.