Using "Race: The Power of Illusion" to Dispel Racial Ideas in Preparation for Desiree's Baby

Every year I teach Desiree's Baby.  It's my favorite short story to teach students; the look of shock on their faces at the end... it's awesome.

The first year I taught it, I was shocked at how little the kids knew about race.  A lot of my students know what race FEELS like: they know what it feels like when someone underestimates them because of the color of their skin, they know what it feels like to see people praise a person who villainizes them, they know what it feels like to grow up having a different experience than the ones they see in the shows they watch.  But a lot of them don't KNOW race: the history, the science, the misconceptions.

Enter my favorite Webquest thanks to PBS!

Race: The Power of Illusion is an interactive website that explains almost everything you could ever want to know about the idea of race.  And it was just what I needed to get my point across in as little time as possible.

I needed the students to understand that race is just a construct, and that a person's skin color does not denote their race.  So I created a guided questioning worksheet that is sectioned off based on the sections that are available on the website.

A good chunk of kids were so fascinated that they browsed other parts of the site outside of their required tasks.

It worked as a great 2 day webquest activity.  If you're interested in the worksheet I created to go with the site, click here.