On April 19, 1995, 168 people were killed in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City. As time goes by, people often reference this number as a statistic, grouping all the victims together as one. It is important to remember that each victim is an individual, a unique and significant member of a family or friendship, rather than just a number.
Students will participate in a brief activity to visualize how many victims were killed in the bombing, research one individual who was killed, and compose and perform a first-person monologue from that victim’s point of view.
- Essential Questions: Why is it important to think of victims of tragedy as individuals rather than just part of the death toll? Is it ever appropriate to think of the victims as a group or a statistic?
- Time frame: 2 class periods
- Grade level(s): 6-12
- Subjects: Speech/Drama, Oklahoma History, Language Arts
- Access to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum website
- Write the number 168 on the board. Explain that 168 people were killed in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
- To help visualize this number, ask students how many classes of their size would equal 168, have them raise their hands until 168 fingers are held up, or have groups tear a piece of paper into 168 pieces.
- Show the webpage Those Who Were Killed from the Oklahoma City National Memorial website. Click on a picture of one of the victims and read the biography. Ask, ”Why is it important to think about these 168 people as individuals rather than just part of a statistic? Have you ever been part of a statistic? When are statistics appropriate or useful?”
- Assign each student an individual who died in the Oklahoma City bombing.
- Assessment: students are to click on their assigned individual and read his or her short biography, then write a first-person 30-second monologue from the point of view of the victim. Perform the monologue for the class.
Oklahoma Academic Standards for Social Studies; Oklahoma History Content Standard 5:10; grades 9-12:
Cite specific textual and visual evidence to analyze the causes and effects of the domestic terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, including the responses of Oklahomans to the event, the concept of the “Oklahoma Standard” and the creation of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.
Oklahoma Academic Standards for English Language Arts Standard 1.W.1; grades 6-12
Students will give formal and informal presentations in a group or individually, organizing information and determining appropriate content and purpose for audience
Common Core Standards for ELA; Reading #6; grades 6-12
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Common Core Standards for ELA; Writing #4; grades 6-12
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Common Core Standards for ELA; Speaking and Listening #1; grades 6-12
Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Common Core Standards for ELA; Speaking and Listening #2; grades 6-12
Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.