From Sympathy to Action


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This lesson uses Facing History's publication Choosing to Participate. Reading 5 "From Sympathy to Action" (pp. 28-33) uses two texts to help students think about the factors and encourage and discourage people to act when they confront suffering or injustice. The studies described by journalist Nicholas Kristof reveal that most people will take action to save one life, before they take action to save many lives. Yet, the story of Nicholas Winton, a British man whose efforts during World War II saved nearly 700 children, many of them Jewish, represents how some people do take extraordinary effort to improve the lives of many. Together, these two accounts help students think about the responsibilities individuals have to address suffering and injustice in larger society.

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    Topics and Grades

    Grade: 6 to 8

    Topics: Civics, Humanities

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    • Teacher Materials

    Tool for: Teachers

    Beneficiary: Teachers