I use this product in my 6th grade Ancient History class, but the reading passages are challenging enough that it is appropriate in a 9th-grade class too (and may be a little too hard for some 6th grade groups). After we study the traditional Hindu caste system in the context of Ancient India, I use this activity to investigate how the caste system has and has not changed in the modern day, with an emphasis on the lives and civil rights of Dalits (the modern name for what were traditionally called “untouchables”).
The webquest asks students to read six sources taken from modern publications (one from the BBC, two from the Globe and Mail, one from the Telegraph, one from the Wire, and one from the New York Times). The handout asks a total of 14 questions that the students have to answer after they read the sources. While the questions ask for reading comprehension rather than analysis or interpretation, this is a challenging activity because the reading passages are long enough that students have to practice their skills at scanning for key words, using headers, etc.
I have found this to be a great way for students to practice their research and reading skills, learn about connections between the past and present, and prepare for a larger discussion on social justice and human rights.
This assignment can be given as classwork or homework. I've listed 90 minutes as the teaching duration, which it about how long it takes my 6th graders, but I think this time will vary depending on the age and skill level of the students.
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