Kilrea Primary School – Brown eyes/blue eyes activity
Location: 5 Lisnagrot Road, Kilrea, Coleraine, BT51 5SE
Entry Date: 14 December 2017
World War II is a hugely complex topic, to which many different approaches can be taken at primary level. When the P4/5 pupils of Kilrea Primary School explored the conflict, a particular focus was placed on discrimination, unfairness and the persecution of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis. Learners tried out a basic version of the brown eyes/blues eyes activity. In this activity, pupils are split into groups based solely on their eye colour and then treated very differently depending on which group they are in.
The intention behind using the activity was to stimulate a discussion on fairness and discrimination. This goal was successfully achieved. After experiencing the activity and its very unfair rules, pupils from each group were given ample time to share their feelings. They considered why people might unjustly be treated differently in real life and gained a better understanding of how it feels to be the perpetrator or the victim of discrimination.
To further deepen pupils’ understanding, the activity was linked to what they had already learned about WWII, including the story of Anne Frank. This was followed up with another lesson on the 'Kindertransport' – an organised rescue effort to save Jewish refugee children, which took place between 1938 and 1940. Finally, pupils explored a similar situation in the world today by looking at recent photographs of Syrian Refugees and UN refugee camps.