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Jens Buchert - Jens Buchert
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Standards-Based Curriculum

World War I history

Marine biology

Metric weights and measures


Classic Literature:  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Depth and Pressure


Turning Points in History

Refugees and Syrian Crisis


Higher Order Thinking

What positive outcomes can stem from tragedies?

How should one respond to oppression?

Who should be responsible for dispensing justice?

How should one decide whether to use a powerful ability?

How can the long-term impact of a person or action be measured?

Part 1 Timeline
Part 2 Timeline

Click image for full view



The timeline has been altered!  A fissure in time has opened and something from another world has crossed 

into the Atlantic Ocean in the year 1915.  Its presence has triggered a chain of events that threatens to 

unravel human history as we know it!


In order to fully understand the implications of this event, a bit of historic background is required.  In 1915 

Europe was engulfed in World War I.  German forces spread across the continent, and their powerful 

submarines—called U-boats—threatened the seas.  On May 7, 1915, a German U-boat sank a British 

passenger ship—the Lusitania—which was carrying almost 2,000 people, including many Americans.  The 

Lusitania was unarmed, and this attack ultimately led to the United States entering the war.

With the help of the U.S., Germany was defeated in World War I and was punished severely.  Germany was 

outraged and humiliated by its defeat, and over time this led to the Nazi’s rise to power and the beginning 

of World War II 21 years later.


At the time of World War II, America was suffering through the Great Depression.  The war helped America 

pull itself out of the Great Depression and become a political and economic superpower.  This, in turn, led 

to many of the vital advances in science, technology, and medicine in the modern world.

Every action in history has a reaction; each event has a consequence.  This specific chain of events through 

history has led to the world we live in today.


At least, that's what was supposed to happen.  But now the timeline has been altered, history is unraveling, 

and the world may change completely.  Something important in history has changed, and this has sent a 

shockwave through the timeline.  Once the shockwave reaches the present day the world as we know it will 

cease to exist.  The Infinity Knights—the renowned protectors of peace and justice throughout the universe

—must act quickly before Earth’s history is overwritten.  Your mission is to restore the timeline back to its 

original state.


Details are scarce, but here is what we know:  a mysterious creature has crossed a fissure in time and 

entered the Atlantic Ocean.  The creature—which has been described as a giant sea monster—appeared in 

1915 and destroyed many German U-boats, including the one that would have sunk the Lusitania.  As a 

result, the U.S. never entered World War I, and Germany conquered Europe.  World War II never happened, 

and the United States never fully recovered from the Great Depression.  Democracies were destroyed, and 

important advances in science, technology, and medicine never happened.

You must travel back in time, find the mysterious creature, and stop it before it can destroy the German U-

boat.  It must sink the Lusitania in order for the timeline to be restored!




GHOSHAVINA- Leader of the Gachean refugees, she takes her role seriously, confident she can lead her people to a new home.


CAPTAIN DAKKA- During a planetary cataclysm on his homeworld, he and his crew escaped through a ripple in the time continuum created by the cataclysm and finds himself back in time on 1915 Earth.  He currently has plans conquer Europe by preventing America from entering World War 1.


Tie Mpo- A legendary mystic who is thought to know how to activate the time portal of the Bermuda Triangle.


MACABARUS- A feisty race of space pirates that marauds the Gamma Quadrant.   




This 2 Part mission opens with the Infinity Knights crew tasked with assisting a colony of Gacheans that were decimated by a Macabarus attack. Their planet was so much destroyed by the space pirates that the colony will require relocation to a new planet. The Federation has selected planet Gonza as their new home.  The Infinity Knights must pick up the remaining colonists who are at the refugee center on Star Base New Horizon and get them safely across pirate's territory to their new home Gonza orbiting the star Xenu in the Gamma quadrant.  The task won't be easy, the Macarbarus have set up a defense satellite net around the space station but the crew must use their wits to out maneuver the pirates and reach the refugees. 



Upon arriving at planet Gonza, the crew will help the Gachean start their colony by playing the game Catana



The crew receives a Level 5 message from headquarters calling for the Infinity Knights immediate return to Earth.  A fissure in time has opened and something from another world has crossed into the Atlantic Ocean in the year 1915.  Its presence has triggered a chain of events that threatens to unravel human history as we know it!  Federation command is directing the crew to travel to the area of the Carribean where the Bermuda Triangle is located and attempt to use the Bermuda Triangle to travel back in time to stop the disturbance from happening. The crew arrives on an island in the Carribean in order to seek out Tie Mpo, a great mystic who is said to know the secret of how to activate the Bermuda Triangle and use it as a means to travel back in time.  His exact location is unknown, but locals have pointed Federation scouts to this island as the best means by which to located him.  The crew will discover upon their arrival that Tie Mpo does not divulge his secrets so easily, and has set up an obstacles course that leads to him, in order to keep unworthy folks away.....will the crew by up to the challenges and overcome Tie Mpo's great obstacles and be able to travel back in time?




Once the crew has successfully opened the Bermuda Triangle, they will undergo specialized Officer Training at the Federations campus there on Earth where they will train and compete in a variety of games designed to sharpen their skills for the impending missions.  


End of Part 1(Fall Mission)



Start of Part 2 (Spring Mission)



The crew will transport back in time through the Bermuda Triangle and go under the ocean to investigate the source of the timeline disturbance.  There, the crew will find that the opening in the timeline has caused a great mix up in the ocean's zones and the animals are now stuck in the wrong habitats: deep sea creatures are stuck near the surface and surface creatures are lost deep in the abyss. The crew must search the ocean zones and perform capture and release for a variety of ocean creatures in order to set things correct.  




The crew will encounter Captain Dakkar who has arrived at Earth in the year 1915 from his planet in the present day year 2475.  He escaped through a time fissure that opened on his homeworld and has come looking for a  place to colonize his civilization anew, having fled the volcanic activity currently raging on his homeworld.  Captain Dakkar's scheme is to prevent the ship Lusitania from being sunk by a German U-20, an event that brought the United States into the First World War, and then gain control of the German Army and conquer Europe,  setting himself and his crew up as it's leadership.


The crew must find a way to allow the Lusitania to be sunk by the German U-20 in order to ensure the timeline is not broken and then negotiate a settlement with Captain Dakkar.  In return for Captain Dakkar agreeing to give up his plans to take over Europe, the Infinity Knights will offer him assistance colonizing a new homeworld.




Traveling back through the Bermuda Triangle to present day, the Infinity Knights will take Captain Dakkar on a quest to colonize a new homeworld by playing the game Catana Star Trek.



Having successfully completed the mission, the Infinity Knights crew will engage in specialized Officer Training at the Federation campus on Earth where they will train and compete in a variety of games designed to sharpen their skills in preparation for future missions....


End of Part 




The resolution to this crisis involves several requirements:


(1)  Fly to Star Base New Horizons and transport the Gachean refugees safely through the Gachean territory to the planet Gonza.


2) Assist the Gachean in colonizing their new home


3) Fly back to Earth and solve the challenges on a Caribbean island that lead to the mystic Tie Mpo and learn how to activate the Bermuda Triangle time portal.


4) Conduct Officer training in preparation for your upcoming mission


5) Travel back in time to the year 1915 and solve the problems cuased by a ripple in the time continuum that displaced the ocean creatures into their wrong habits by conducting a capture and release program that will identify the various ocean creatures and determine their correct ocean zone habitat.


6) Intervene to stop Captain Dakka from preventing a German U-20 boat from sinking the Lusitania and thereby altering forever the course of history.


7) By negotiation or force, take Captain Dakka and his crew back through the Bermuda Triangle time portal to the present day and help them colonize a new planet.






Part 1 (Fall mission)


BREAKOUT EDU- The crew will work their way through a series of problem-solving challenges as they race against other teams in the competition to be the first team to arrive at the Bermuda Triangle Time Portal Platform with the activation lever in hand. The race involves traveling in obsidian boats through the rivers of a Minecraft island near the Bermuda triangle in a quest to find Tie Mpo and discover how to activate the time portal.  This process involves a combination of exploration and problem solving using both Minecraft and Breakout Edu.
CATAN-You build roads and new settlements that eventually become cities. Will you succeed in gaining supremacy on Catan? Barter trade dominates the scene. Some resources you have in abundance, other resources are scarce. Ore for wool, brick for lumber - you trade according to what is needed for your current building projects. Proceed strategically! If you found your settlements in the right places and skillfully trade your resources, then the odds will be in your favor.
The crew help the Ghachean and Astrins settle new worlds by playing the games Settlers of Catan and Star Trek Catan. Before coming to the mission you need to understand how to play these two games. You can practice playing on your iPad in advance of the mission in addition to reading the rules and watching the instructional videos below:
 COMPUTERCRAFT TURTLE ROBOTS- As you work your way through Tie Mpo' s challenges, you will need to implement your programming and problem-solving skills in order to solve some of the challenges.  Watch the videos and read over the information below to brush up on your understanding so that you are ready to go when the mission starts.
JOURNEY- A crew wide team score, each crew member will have a set amount of time to progress the robed figure in the journey towards the mystic mountain and complete the story...
X-PLANE- During officer training, you will be tasked with flying a seaplane from Maiquitea airport in Caracas and land in the ocean and then turn around and safely land back on the runway at the airport...
DIRT 3- During officer training, you will hone your driving skills in a Dirt 3 time trial competition
PORTAL 2- During officer training, you and your teammates will try to outscore the competition using the laws of physics...
F1 2015- During officer training, you and your teammates will hone your driving skills as you try to outrace the competition as you attempt to control the physics behind these rockets on wheels...
LOGIC PUZZLE- During the obstacle course race you will have to solve a logic problem, you can brush up on your logic skills now in preparation for the mission by going to the website below and practicing...

Part 2 (Fall mission)


On behalf of the Federation, you explore space with your starships and build outposts and starbases near valuable planets. There you extract important resources such as the coveted dilithium. But the Federation has also sent out other expeditions.Therefore, you have to be wary of competitors - and of the Klingons, who want to give the players a hard time. With the aid of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, however, keeping the adversaries in check and outperforming your competitors should be an easy task. With this in mind: Live long and prosper!



OUpon arriving in the year 1915 through the Bermuda Triangle time portal, your crew will discover that the marine animals in the region are displaced from their natural habitats.  You will research, find and rescue the animals through a capture and release program that will restore the animals to their correct of vertical ocean zones.


  1. Have read the mission overview page for the mission LUSITANIA and know the mission storyline, characters, and mission objectives as a quiz will occur when you arrive the first day (mission objectives quiz will occur the first day of the mission)

  2. Bring a pair of earbuds or headphones if you have them.

  3. Construct your uniform, this component will comprise 2 homework grades and will be assessed each day of the mission.  REFER TO THE UNIFORM RUBRIC ON THE RUBRICS PAGE 

  4. Make sure you have logged into Class Craft and updated any power you have waiting to learn (green button)

  5. Have watched the pre-mission training videos that pertain to your crew position if you are the navigator, doctor, captain- this page is at the bottom of the list in the student's section of the website.

  6. Read the curriculum map and associated rubrics by clicking the curriculum map and rubric buttons at the top of this mission overview page.

  7. Watch the ComputerCraft Edu videos on this web page to learn the basics of Minecraft Turtle block-based programming, Make sure you know how to write a simple loop.  Unlike last mission where you may have come unprepared, it will be essential you know how to write a simple loop.

  8. Practice doing some logic problems on the Puzzle Baron website (easy level)

  9. Strategy Project- fall mission (10% of semester grade). Look at the crew positions web page and then complete the Strategy and Melee Procedures Forms for the Refuge Center Rescue scenario and are due by Thursday the week before you appear for your mission. These two forms will count 10% of your fall mission grade and must be completed by the Thursday the week before you appear for your mission. You can start working on it now...

  10. EIC Mission Project- spring mission (10% of semester grade) read below the spring mission project overview. This project will be due the day you appear to your spring mission and count 10% of your grade.  You can start writing your mission story today, months before it is due, and email me with any questions you might have. My email address is 

  11. Have read the Rules and Almanac and watched the 'how-to play' video for the game CATAN (Fall mission) and STAR TREK CATAN (Spring mission) and be able to answer these questions in the Game Rules Quiz you will take during the mission:

CATAN-Fall Mission

  1. What happens if someone rolls a 7?

  2. What happens if someone does not roll a 7?

  3. What 3 actions can you take when it's your turn?

  4. How may you trade?

  5. What 4 things can you do when building?

  6. How many player development cards can you play per turn?

  7. How do you get the Longest Road special card?

  8. What do pastures produce?

  9. What 5 resource cards are required to build a city?

  10. What are the 3 types of Development cards?

  11. What happens when you play a Knight card?

  12. How do you get the Largest Army special card?

  13. What is the objective of the game/how do win?

STAR TREK CATAN-Spring Mission

  1. Green planets produce what resource?

  2. How many resource cards does a Starbase receive?

  3. How many starships can occupy each space route?

  4. What is the maximum number of times you can use a particular Support Card?

  5. How do you get the Longest Supply Route card?

  6. What resources are needed to build an Outpost

  7. What resources are need to build a Starbase?

  8. What happens if you roll a 7?

  9. How do you get the Largest Starfleet card?

  10. What is the objective of the game/how do you win?



(10% of your fall mission grade. Due Thursday of the week before you appear to the mission)


Strategy Project Fall Mission (10% of grade). Look at the crew positions web page to refresh your understanding of each crew member's main responsibilities and then complete the Strategy and Melee Procedures Forms for the Refuge Center Rescue scenario. The two forms must be uploaded by Thursday the week before you appear for your mission. These two forms will count 10% of your fall mission grade and must be completed by the Thursday the week before you appear for your mission. You can start working now months before it is due and email me with any questions you may have.  My email address is . USE THE PURPLE UPLOAD BUTTON ABOVE TO TURN IN YOUR WORK.



STRATEGY FORM(click here to download)

You are the captain of the ship, how will you have your crew approach the scenario Refugee Center Rescue? Your wit and crew discipline will determine the ship's fate. Think deeply maybe yours will go down in history as one of the great strategies of your time…


To do this assignment, first, read and study the Refugee Center Rescue Scenario in the section below and then download the Strategy Form.  As you go through filling in the form, if the space allotted for your response is not sufficient, insert as much space between your answers as you need in order to fit your answer.


When writing your strategy description, be sure to be specific as to the pathway on the map you propose to take and what encounters you will choose to have. Be detailed and clear in your writing.


When you have completed the form, export it as a PDF from Word or Pages, and then upload it into the Strategy Form Upload Folder by clicking the purple button above.





MELEE PROCEDURES FORM(click here to download)

Melee procedures are the actions the crew members carry out in preparing and executing a battle encounter.  The melee procedures you and your crew members create will be on hand for the captain to choose from during the actual mission.  Design an ingenious way to defeat the enemy and then watch it in action during the mission! For this assignment, you need to keep in mind any goals there might be, Class Craft powers, responsibilities/abilities of each of the crew members, and how the crew will communicate and share information. When you have completed the form, export it as a PDF from Word or Pages, and then upload it into the Melee Form Upload Folder by clicking the purple button above.





In this scenario, the objective is to reach the Gachean refugees inside the Refugee Center located on the New Horizons Space Station.  The challenge, however, is that the Macabarus space pirates have put up a Defense Net around the space station.  In order to reach the refugees, you will need to take out enough sections of the defense net that will enable you to reach the space station.  The Defense Net is comprised of defense satellites located inside the asteroid fields in the surrounding area.  Each defense satellite is surrounded by 3 pirate ships: a scout ship (light defense but fast), a corvette (well armed and speedy), and a cruiser (slow but very well armed). Additionally, each section of the defense net is monitored by a patrol ship (very fast with moderate defense and arms). Also in the area are the star Mizar, 2 repair ships, a trading post, a weapons cargo vessel and 3 Valkana fighter ships that can be called upon to assist you.


In devising your strategy, know that defense satellites 5,6,7 can only be destroyed with neutrino bombs that you must first find or buy.   Also, be sure to consider all assets at your disposal including Class Craft powers, the special capabilities of the crew stations (e.g. hacker turning off enemy engines), the responsibilities of your 1st  and 2nd officer and which of the two will be responsible for managing which crew members and how you will organize crew communications, and when to deploy your Melee Procedures.


Note: When a defense satellite is destroyed, the network connections associated with it will disappear, thus opening up closer access to the space station.  The ship will not be allowed to pass active network lines.  Asteroids can be mined for precious metals and used to buy supplies at the trade depot or repairs from a repair ship.



(10% of your spring mission grade. Due Thursday of the week before you appear to the mission)



Mission Design Project


For this project, you will design an EIC mission including the plot, mission objectives, character profiles, episodes, and activities.  This project will be published as a web page(s) on your Wix website you created in the previous mission. You can download the details of this project's rubric requirements here .  You have several months to complete this project and can get started today. Remember that it is due the Thursday the week before you appear for your mission


Again, you can start working now months before it is due and email me with any questions you may have.  My email address is 




Fall Semester Homework Assignment Resources

The homework of the fall mission requires in part that you use some of the resources below. When you see and "assessment" hyperlink button, this tells you that you need to go the Mission Assignments page and click the corresponding hyperlink to take the assessment. You should create two tabs in your web browser or open two browser windows side by side so that you can have the Star Quiz assessment open next to the articles and videos as you provide your answers. Watch the videos and re-read the articles more than once if necessary.  You may also read the assessment question and then search for the answers here on this page.  Doing thus, you should make a good grade.


The homework schedule is thus:

Day 1: Logic Problems, Code Avengers

Day 2: Code Avengers, Refugees 

Day 3: Refugees, Syrian Conflict, Who is ISIS

Project: Strategy and Melee Procedures (10% of mission grade)- due Thursday before coming to mission)


Essential Questions

  • What responsibility do individuals have to respond to the needs of refugees? What can an individual do to help? 

  • How can closely examining a troubling moment in history inform our choices today?



There are more people displaced in the world today than at any time since the end of World War II. Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, shared this fact with dozens of New York City students, all immigrants, during a visit to Newcomers High School in May 2016. By discussing the global refugee crisis with them, the ambassador hoped to inspire in the students a sense of responsibility—to bridge the gap between "us" and "them"—and to empower them to take action.


This lesson draws on readings and short videos featuring Ambassador Power in conversation with the young people of Newcomers High School to explain and humanize a crisis that often feels too overwhelming to confront. After surveying the scope and impact of the global refugee crisis, students will come to understand what makes someone a “refugee.” They will then learn how even small ways of seeing the “other” in ourselves can make a difference in our approach to large and complicated problems involving the needs and well-being of people distant from us. The lesson also considers the value of looking critically at historical moments—in particular, the case of the St. Louis, a ship that carried Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution across the Atlantic in 1939—and recognizing in them implications for our choices today.

Learning Goals

  • Students will gain a better understanding of the refugee crisis and what it means to be a refugee.

  • Students will reflect on the implications of the historical episode involving the St. Louis in 1939, particularly in relation to responses to the current refugee crisis.

  • Students will consider the importance of “humanizing” those who otherwise seem distant and different from us. 

  • Students will recognize the power of taking a “small step” when faced with a problem that seems too large to tackle.



There are currently more than 65 million people displaced worldwide—the highest number on record since the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) began collecting statistics. At least 15 conflicts have erupted or reignited around the world since 2010, contributing to this crisis. Half of the world’s refugees have come from only three war-torn countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. In Syria alone, where a brutal civil war has raged since 2011, nearly 5 million have sought to save themselves and their families by fleeing the country, while 8.7 million have been displaced within the country’s borders. Millions of refugees are living, often in overcrowded camps, in Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, and Ethiopia. Millions of others have fled to Europe and other countries around the world.


This lesson asks students to consider how a refugee crisis in the 1930s might help us think about how we respond to today’s refugee crisis. In the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of European Jews were refugees, fleeing persecution from Nazi Germany. One challenge facing these refugees was that very few nations would protect them or take them in. In 1939, over 900 Jewish refugees boarded the ocean liner the St. Louis and set sail for Cuba. Before they left, Cuba had agreed to accept the refugees, but by the time the ship arrived, the Cuban government had changed its mind. The ship then sailed along the Florida coast, hoping the US government would accept the refugees. It passed close enough to Miami for the refugees to see the lights of the city, but they received no assistance. The ship was forced to return to Europe, where the refugees faced a perilous future. The results from a 1939 poll of 5,000 Americans indicated that 53 percent of respondents regarded Jews as different from "real Americans." That, coupled with economic troubles at home, may have accounted for why Americans did not wish to accept a ship full of refugees.

Article 1
  • What have you learned from these sources about refugees and other displaced persons around the world? Why do you think this current situation is considered a crisis?

  • What do these resources suggest about the experiences of individuals and families who have been forced to leave their homes?

  • Why should world leaders care? Why should individuals like us care?

Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan

According to the UNHCR, 79,225 people lived in the Za'atri Refugee Camp in Jordan, near the Syrian border. All of them fled from Syria to escape the brutal civil war.

Who is classified as a refugee and why that classification is important?

GENEVA, July 11 (UNHCR) –


With more than 65 million people forcibly displaced globally and boat crossings of the Mediterranean still regularly in the headlines, the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ are frequently used interchangeably in media and public discourse. But is there a difference between the two, and does it matter? 


Yes, there is a difference, and it does matter. The two terms have distinct and different meanings, and confusing them leads to problems for both populations. Here’s why:

Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution. There were 21.3 million of them worldwide at the end of 2015. Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as "refugees" with access to assistance from States, UNHCR, and other organizations. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they need sanctuary elsewhere. These are people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences.

Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol as well as other legal texts, such as the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, remain the cornerstone of modern refugee protection. The legal principles they enshrine have permeated into countless other international, regional, and national laws and practices. The 1951 Convention defines who is a refugee and outlines the basic rights which States should afford to refugees. One of the most fundamental principles laid down in international law is that refugees should not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom would be under threat.



The protection of refugees has many aspects. These include safety from being returned to the dangers they have fled; access to asylum procedures that are fair and efficient; and measures to ensure that their basic human rights are respected to allow them to live in dignity and safety while helping them to find a longer-term solution. States bear the primary responsibility for this protection. UNHCR therefore works closely with governments, advising and supporting them as needed to implement their responsibilities.


Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death, but mainly to improve their lives by finding work, or in some cases for education, family reunion, or other reasons. Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants face no such impediment to return. If they choose to return home, they will continue to receive the protection of their government.



For individual governments, this distinction is important. Countries deal with migrants under their own immigration laws and processes. Countries deal with refugees through norms of refugee protection and asylum that are defined in both national legislation and international law. Countries have specific responsibilities towards anyone seeking asylum on their territories or at their borders. UNHCR helps countries deal with their asylum and refugee protection responsibilities.



Politics has a way of intervening in such debates. Conflating refugees and migrants can have serious consequences for the lives and safety of refugees. Blurring the two terms takes attention away from the specific legal protections refugees require. It can undermine public support for refugees and the institution of asylum at a time when more refugees need such protection than ever before. We need to treat all human beings with respect and dignity. We need to ensure that the human rights of migrants are respected. At the same time, we also need to provide an appropriate legal response for refugees, because of their particular predicament.

So, back to Europe and the large numbers of people arriving in recent years by boats in Greece, Italy and elsewhere. Which are they? Refugees or migrants?


In fact, they happen to be both. The majority of people arriving in Italy and Greece especially have been from countries mired in war or which otherwise are considered to be ‘refugee-producing’ and for whom international protection is needed. However, a smaller proportion is from elsewhere, and for many of these individuals, the term ‘migrant’ would be correct.



So, at UNHCR we say ‘refugees and migrants’ when referring to movements of people by sea or in other circumstances where we think both groups may be present – boat movements in Southeast Asia are another example. We say ‘refugees’ when we mean people fleeing war or persecution across an international border. And we say ‘migrants’ when we mean people moving for reasons not included in the legal definition of a refugee. We hope that others will give thought to doing the same. Choices about words do matter.

By Adrian Edwards, Geneva

Article 2
Article 3

By 1939, nearly half of the 1933 Jewish population of Germany had left the country. Now, after Kristallnacht, the remaining Jews were desperate to get out. To do so, they needed visas to enter another country. Among those who had the “right papers” were the 937 men, women, and children who boarded a ship, the St. Louis, in Hamburg, Germany, on May 14. Each had paid $150—a significant sum of money in 1939—for written permission to enter Cuba. But only a few people on the ship wanted to stay in Cuba. Most were on a very long waiting list to immigrate to the United States.

As the St. Louis neared Cuba, the Cuban government, in response to pressure from Cubans opposed to increased Jewish immigration, suddenly canceled the landing permits of all Jewish passengers. When the ship docked in Havana, only about 30 passengers were allowed ashore (all were non-Jews or Jews with special visas). The rest were forbidden to enter the country. While the ship remained in the harbor, two passengers tried to commit suicide, and one of them succeeded. To prevent other attempts, the crew lowered lifeboats and shone lights on the waters around the ship. Special patrols were added after the captain heard rumors of a mass suicide pact among the passengers.


When news of the first suicide attempt reached the United States, many Americans demanded that their government accept the passengers immediately. Others sent the Cuban government telegrams of protest, but neither nation was willing to reconsider its refusal to admit the St. Louis’s passengers. As a result, the ship was forced to leave Cuban waters on June 2 with all but 30 passengers still on board. Unsure of where to take the remaining passengers, the captain marked time while Jewish organizations tried desperately to find a country willing to accept the refugees. Within two days, every country in Latin America had refused to do so.



As the ship slowly headed north, a number of prominent Canadian citizens asked Prime Minister Mackenzie King to help the St. Louis passengers. He quickly made it clear that he was “emphatically opposed” to allowing them to enter Canada. Immigration Minister Frederick Blair agreed. He pointed out that “if these Jews were to find a home [in Canada] they would likely be followed by other shiploads.” The line, he insisted, “must be drawn somewhere.”


On June 7, the captain had no choice but to return to Germany with most of his passengers still on board. The Nazis turned the incident into propaganda. They claimed that it demonstrated that Jews were universally disliked and distrusted. On June 10, Belgium accepted 200 passengers from the St. Louis. Two days later, the Netherlands promised to take in 194. Britain and France admitted the rest. 



Furious at the role the US government had played in the crisis, a resident of Richmond, Virginia, wrote:

[The] press reported that the ship came close enough to Miami for the refugees to see the lights of the city. The press also reported that the U.S. Coast Guard, under instructions from Washington, followed the ship . . . to prevent any people landing on our shores. And during the days when this horrible tragedy was being enacted right at our doors, our government in Washington made no effort to relieve the desperate situation of these people, but on the contrary gave orders that they be kept out of the country. . . . The failure to take any steps whatsoever to assist these distressed, persecuted Jews in their hour of extremity was one of the most disgraceful things which has happened in American history and leaves a stain and brand of shame upon the record of our nation.



This video is optional but contains nice insights of how new students were treated arriving new to America
Article 4

During WWII, the incorporation of Austria into the Third Reich spelled terror for the 200,000 Jews in that country, as an account in a London newspaper reported:


"It is the heartless, grinning, soberly dressed crowds on the Graben and the Karntnerstrasse [streets in Vienna] . . . fluffy Viennese blondes, fighting to get closer to the elevating spectacle of an ashen-faced Jewish surgeon on his hands and knees before half a dozen young hooligans with Swastika armlets and dog-whips, that sticks in my mind. His delicate fingers, which must have made the swift and confident incisions that had saved the lives of many Viennese, held a scrubbing brush. A storm trooper was pouring some acid solution over the brush—and his fingers. Another sluiced the pavement from a bucket, taking care to drench the surgeon's striped trousers as he did so. And the Viennese—not uniformed Nazis or a raging mob, but the Viennese Little Man and his wife—just grinned approval at the glorious fun.


Foreign journalists in Austria were reporting hundreds of similar antisemitic incidents throughout the nation. Some noted a sharp increase in suicides, as thousands of Jews tried desperately to emigrate only to encounter roadblocks wherever they turned. Their difficulty in leaving “Greater Germany” was not with the Nazis, who, faced with the problem of including an additional 200,000 Jews in the Reich, were eager to see Jews leave the country as long as they left their money and other possessions behind. The problem was with other nations, most of whom had no interest in accepting thousands of penniless Jewish refugees.


Between 1,500 and 3,500 Austrian Jews applied for immigration visas to come to the United States in the days following the Anschluss. President Franklin Roosevelt was sympathetic to their plight but believed he did not have the public’s support to ask Congress to change the quota system under which immigrants were admitted.


A poll published in Fortune magazine in 1938 reveals much about public opinion in the United States.


Attitudes toward Allowing German, Austrian, and Other Political Refugees into the United States, July 1938

We should encourage their arrival even if our immigration quotas are raised: 4.9%

We should allow their arrival but not raise our immigration quotas: 18.2%

Given our current conditions, we should keep them out: 67.4%

I don’t know: 9.5%



Acting on his own, Roosevelt did combine the Austrian and German quotas that, together, would allow more than 7,000 Jewish refugees to enter. In addition, Roosevelt called for an international conference to discuss the growing refugee crisis. Many nations were reluctant to attend, even though the Americans assured them that no country would be expected to “receive a greater number of emigrants than is permitted by its existing legislation.”



Canada was among those reluctant nations. Prime Minister Mackenzie King wrote in his diary, “We must . . . seek to keep this part of the Continent free from unrest and from too great an intermixture of foreign strains of blood.” In his view, nothing was to be gained “by creating an internal problem in an effort to meet an international one.”



Nevertheless, in July 1938, delegates from 32 nations, including Canada, met in Evian, France. They were joined by representatives from dozens of relief organizations and other groups, as well as hundreds of reporters. At the conference, each delegate formally expressed sorrow over the growing number of “refugees” and “deportees,” boasted of his nation’s traditional hospitality, and lamented that his nation was unable to do more in the “present situation.” 



The British, noting that many refugees wanted to go to Palestine, which was then under British rule, said they would like to admit more refugees, but in view of the ongoing conflict between Arabs and Jews, it was not a practical solution. The French claimed that their country had already done more than its fair share. The Americans noted that Congress would have to approve any change in the nation’s immigration laws—legislation that set a limit on the number of immigrants the United States would accept from each country each year.



Historians Richard Breitman and Allan Lichtman describe the responses of other countries at the conference:

Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama stated that they wanted no traders or intellectuals, code words for Jews. Argentina said it had already accommodated enough immigrants from Central Europe. Canada cited its unemployment problem. Australia said that it had no “racial problems” and did not want to create any by bringing in Jewish refugees. Imperial countries such as Britain, France, and the Netherlands said that their tropical territories offered only limited prospects for European refugees. League of Nations High Commissioner Sir Neill Malcolm was openly hostile to the idea of a new refugee organization . . . The Washington Post headlined one story on the conference, “YES, BUT—.” It noted, “it has been a disappointment, if not altogether a surprise . . . that delegates take the floor to say, We feel sorry for the refugees and potential refugees but—.”



The Dominican Republic was the only country that agreed to accept Jewish immigrants. In 1937, the nation’s leader, Rafael Trujillo, had ordered his soldiers to massacre thousands of Haitians at the Dominican border. Historians believe he hoped that accepting Jewish refugees might repair his image internationally. He also hoped that Jews would marry local inhabitants and “lighten” the population. He granted visas to a thousand Jews who were to live in Sosúa, a special community established for them. 

Only M. J. M. Yepes of Colombia addressed the real issue at the Evian conference. Yepes was a professor who also served as the legal advisor to his country’s permanent delegation to the League of Nations. He told delegates that there were two central questions that they must confront. One was a question of fact that each nation had to answer for itself: How many refugees would it admit? The other question involved a matter of principle: “Can a State, without upsetting the basis of our civilization, and, indeed, of all civilization, arbitrarily withdraw nationality from a whole class of its citizens, thereby making them Stateless Persons whom no country is compelled to receive on its territory?”



Yepes went on to say that as long as that central problem was not decided, the work of the conference would not be lasting and a dangerous example would be set—an example that in his view would make the world “uninhabitable.” But most delegates did not want to deal with either issue.



The Jewish observer from Palestine, Golda Meyerson, who would become prime minister of Israel many years later (as Golda Meir), was not allowed to speak. She wrote:


"I don’t think that anyone who didn’t live through it can understand what I felt at Evian—a mixture of sorrow, rage, frustration, and horror. I wanted to get up and scream at them, “Don’t you know that these so-called numbers are human beings, people who may spend the rest of their lives in concentration camps, or wandering around the world like lepers if you don’t let them in?” Of course, I didn’t know then that not concentration camps but death camps awaited the refugees whom no one wanted."

"[L]ook around the country—look deeply—and you will find so many people who not only support admitting more refugees, but who themselves are making tremendous efforts to welcome them. People like the owners of Wankel’s Hardware Store in New York, where I live, which for decades has been employing recently resettled refugees, including 15 of their 20 current employees. Wankel’s keeps a map on the wall of the store with pins marking the 36 countries from which their refugee employees have come. Many Americans are doing their part and wish to find a way to do more. 


When visiting the International Rescue Committee [IRC] resettlement office—just a 10-minute walk from the UN—recently, I noticed that many of their individual offices seemed to be overflowing with boxes. When I asked whether the folks who worked at IRC were moving in or moving out of the space, I was told that after some U.S. politicians threatened to curb the flow of refugees, the IRC had received a huge, unprecedented surge in donations. And they simply had no other space to store all the clothes, toys, and home furnishings that had come flooding in, just from ordinary people. A similar outpouring occurred inside the U.S. government. When we announced our goal to admit an additional 15,000 refugees this year, many U.S. national security professionals volunteered to take extra trainings and work extra hours in their already long days to help us meet that goal.



These examples abound. The small Vermont town of Rutland has committed to taking in 100 Syrian refugees. The mayor, whose grandfather came to the U.S. after fleeing war in his native Greece, said of the decision, “As much as I want to say it’s for compassionate reasons, I realize that there is not a vibrant, growing, successful community in the country right now that is not embracing new Americans.” Local schools are preparing to support kids who cannot [speak] English, and local businesses in Rutland have said that they will look to hire refugees. One of them is a regional medical center, whose director is the grandson of refugees from Nazi Germany. “I know there is a good-heartedness to this city,” he said. “If you come here and want to make the community better, Rutlanders will welcome you with open arms.” A poll some of you have seen that was released this month by the Brookings Institution suggests that most Americans feel the same way. Asked if they would support the U.S. taking in refugees from the Middle East after they were screened for security risks, 59 percent of Americans said yes. Yes."-

Ambassador Samantha Power’s Remarks on the Global Refugee Crisis (excerpted)
US Institute of Peace, June 29, 2016

END of Refugees Assignment

Video Guide on the Syrian Crisis 


Click through the slides 
Article 6

25 September 2015 – Despair at appalling living conditions among the 4 million Syrians who have already fled to neighbouring countries is fuelling the current flood of refugees to Europe as they flee once more, this time from restrictions and under-funded aid programmes that have led to child labour and even ‘survival sex,’ the United Nations said today.


“Refugees face horrible living conditions, and restrictions in the legal regimes for refugees in the countries where they live […] When people don’t have proper shelter and are living on 45 cents a day, of course they want to move,” Amin Awad, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Bureau of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said today.


“Refugees are having to adopt negative survival strategies – like child labour, dropping out of school, begging and survival sex. They need much more support,” he told a press briefing in Geneva. “These are societies that put a high value on education and now they are seeing their children out of school.”


Stressing that the refugees have lost hope for any improvement in Syria which has been torn asunder by more than four years of war in which at least a quarter-million people have been killed and 12 million more forced to flee their homes, he warned that the situation would only end when the fighting ended and the region stabilized.


“Syria is burning; towns are destroyed and that’s why people are on the move, that’s why we have an avalanche, a tsunami of people on the move towards Europe,” he said. “As long as there’s no resolution in Syria and no improved conditions in neighbouring countries, people will move.”


There have now been almost 429,000 Syrian asylum applications in Europe since 2011, but due to the lack of reception facilities many of the most recent arrivals have yet to apply with the flood increasing exponentially.


Based on surveys of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq, Mr. Awad cited seven principal factors behind the latest outflows, first among them loss of hope with no sign of a solution in sight. “Feelings of uncertainty about the future are compounded by miserable conditions, fuelling a sense of despair and desperation,” he noted.


Other factors include the high costs of living in the neighbouring host countries and deepening poverty; limited employment opportunities due to restricted access to work; aid shortfalls with programmes that are 59 per cent underfunded; difficulties in renewing legal residency; lack of education for children; and a feeling of insecurity especially among refugees in Iraq.

Daring Escape- optional viewing, you don't have to watch this video
Long walk across Europe- optional viewing, you don't have to watch this video
United States Extreme Vetting Explained

End of Video Guide on the Syrian Crisis

Escaping Syrian Crisis


Refugee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster—all in order to save their life


Migration: when a group of people move from one section of the world to another, for reasons of safety, freedom, or new opportunities


Migrant: a person who moves to another country for new opportunities


Bashar al-Assad: dictator of Syria


ISIS: the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as the IS = Islamic State


European Union: an association of 28 European nations


Asylum: when a country legally accepts a refugee to live in their country

Article 7



For many Americans, the stories of how their relatives came to the United States is a source of inspiration, hope, and amazement.  As a nation of exiles, we take great pride in how our ancestors survived slavery, persecution, famine, and war, arriving here penniless, as “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” 


Today however, the story of millions of Syrians who are escaping their country’s troubles remind us that every human being is important, that each has dignity, and is worthy of the same happiness that attracted our own families to America.


Escaping the barrel bombs and poison gas of the dictator Bashar al-Assad that have killed over 250 thousand of their countrymen—as well as the barbaric cruelty of the terrorist group ISIS—millions of average, middle-class Syrians now face the decision of a lifetime.


Facing almost certain death if they remain in their country,  should they flee to a neighboring refugee camp in which they might be confined for years?; or, sell their life’s possessions to pay for a smuggler to take them and their family to Europe…

The decision to use smugglers is fraught with danger, trauma, and quite frequently, death. Often paid to take more people then they should, these smuggling rings are incredibly dangerous, crossing the Mediterranean on crowded dinghies and rafts, with over 3,000 people dead or missing this year alone.  


One of those victims was a three-year-old Syrian boy named Ay-lahn Kurdee, whose body washed up on the shore of Turkey after the boat he was on capsized, also killing his mother, and brother. 


To go overland to Europe is equally as challenging, as shown by images of an abandoned smuggler’s truck in Austria that contained over 70 dead Syrians who were hoping to get to Germany.


Given that the situation continues to deteriorate, the United Nations has estimated that over a million refugees are en route towards Europe, with possibly five million more headed that way by the end of the year. 


This means that over 4,000 people are arriving every day, prompting many countries to close off their borders, leaving thousands stranded without hope or a future.  


To make matters worse, according to Nick Kristof of the New York Times, only 41% of the United Nations food requests for these refugees have been funded by governments around the world, with over half of Syrian children unable to go to school.

In some ways, the current situation reminds us of the 1930’s, when thousands of European Jews were attempting to leave Nazi Germany, only to see that the world looked away, leading to the continued suffering and death of millions, known as the Holocaust. 

Article 8

End of Escaping Syria

Who is ISIS?


Video 18 is optional extra learning video that is not required. It is however, an excellent

comprehensive video that will help you fully understang the situation in Syria.


End of Who is ISIS?

Inside the White House Situation Room


Inside the White House Situation Room:

A Presidential Advisory Meeting about confronting the 

Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS)


Looking at its history, current practices, what can be done to stop it, and how to assist its victims.

Article 9

Text of the National Security Video that you just watched:


Mr. President, As your National Security advisors, it is our responsibility to provide you with up-to-date information about situations in the world that present a risk to the safety of the United States, as well as to the human rights of people around the world. 


Since 2014, a group called ISIS- or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—has grown to become the largest terrorist network in the Middle East.


Starting as a splinter group of Al Qaeda during the Iraq War, ISIS is a well-armed, violent, extremist organization who considers itself at war with all nations who do not adhere to its apocalyptic view of the world.


Practicing a strict form of Islam called Sharia Law, it has become a totalitarian, theocratic state that has professed a hatred of democracy and individual liberty. 


Its signature has been the persecution of religious minorities throughout the region, including Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Shiite Muslims. 


Beheadings, crucifixions, and other mass killings of innocent civilians have been widespread, with over twenty thousand murdered since 2014—many of whom are Muslim who don’t follow its extreme beliefs.


There is also evidence of widespread human rights abuses, including the oppression of gay men, the destruction of ancient archaeological treasures, and the use of poison gas. 


What is perhaps the most disturbing is ISIS’s treatment of women. Stonings have become common, with at least 3,500 young girls forced into sexual slavery or marriage.  


Exploiting the chaos in the region, ISIS has spread rapidly throughout eastern Syria and Iraq, controlling an area of close to 13,000 square miles, which is roughly the size of Indiana. 


Hoping to create a Caliphate or religious kingdom, it defends a warped view of Islam, hoping to usher in the final days and the end of the world.


Led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organization has conquered Mosul and other major Iraqi cities, grabbing two billion dollars in cash from looted bank accounts, as well as income from oil and gas fields that amounts to roughly a million dollars a day. 


According to the Huffington Post, it has formed a terrorist army with an estimated 30,000 - 50,000 fighters from over 90 countries and is now armed with tanks and weapons stolen from the Iraqi army. 


Likewise, because of its sophisticated use of social media and propaganda, ISIS has had over 2,000 Westerners join their cause, including over 200 Americans with passports.  


The good news is that American and coalition airstrikes have now contained the group to its original territory and killed thousands of ISIS fighters, recapturing over 40% of the land it controls, including the major Iraqi city of Ramadi. 


Despite those gains, the challenging news is that ISIS still poses a significant risk of conducting further mass killings.


Likewise, any attempt to stop it is unfortunately complicated, involving many moving parts that must be first be understood to be correctly solved.


Mr. President, at this point, we kindly ask that you and the other members of the security team answer the questions on the worksheet that follows. Once everyone is finished, you can open up the floor for discussion and debate.


Your task will be to decide upon two policy options that the United States should follow that will help destroy ISIS and limit its potential for mass murder.


Likewise, you are also encouraged to use this website to learn more about how ISIS operates, how to reach out to assist its victims, and how to take informed action that will help prevent genocide and human rights abuses in our time. 


At this point, please open up the student packet and follow the directions that will help you organize the discussion. Remember that what you do matters—and our time, is now.




A nation’s foreign policy is a government’s strategy dealing with other nations. Reviewing the options below, select three foreign policy options that you feel the President should take in response to ISIS. Take note of your list of 3 options that you think are wisest and use them in your assessment response. Be sure you can articulate your reason(s) for choosing each option on your list



Option A: Use American air power to bomb ISIS training camps, resources, and leaders. 

  • This would include its oil operations and tankers that go to Turkey and other countries. 

  • Doing so would deprive ISIS of roughly one million dollars a day. 

  • Note: Since August of 2014, the U.S. military has said there have been over 9,000 airstrikes that have dropped about 32,000 bombs on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. 

  • Many have credited these strikes for limiting ISIS’s growth and forcing them to hide.


Downsides to this Option: 

  • ISIS is known for hiding its military and command centers near civilian populations, such as hospitals and schools. It is against international law to knowingly target civilians.

  • Any bombs must be used with utmost precision; as any unnecessary civilian deaths will be used by ISIS to make the United States look bad. 

  • To quote a senior military official in a December 20th New York Times article, ‘We want to kill terrorists, but not in a way that will help create new generations of them.”  


Option B: Send in American ground troops to fight ISIS directly  

  • Military officials have estimated that this would require 10,000-25,000 troops. 

  • Note: There are currently @5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq already fighting ISIS.


Downsides to this Option:  

  • Seeing that this fight could take a generation, America should be careful about committing itself too extensively. 

  • An invasion would be an expensive, costing several billion dollars, as well as the lives of roughly 100 American soldiers a month with 500 wounded—which is near the death count of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (David Ignatius, Washington Post). 

  • Some have also argued that this option is exactly what ISIS wants, using it as a recruitment tool to attract new members. 

  • The Doomsday Dam Factor: Several commentators have warned that seeing that ISIS controls several dams in the region, if cornered, they may blow them up as a final act of defiance, triggering massive floods and electrical shortages that would set the region back for a generation.  (Wall Street Journal, January 20th, 2016)



Option C: Arm rebels and troops in the area who hate ISIS 

  • This would mean spending money to send ammunition, machine guns, and other equipment to rebel groups in the region, including 25,000 Kurdish forces and 5,000 tribal fighters. 

  • Note: Seeing that these Kurds are fighting for their lives and land, they have been very effective, taking back more than 500 towns.

  • This would include training the Iraqi army to better fight ISIS in their country.


Downsides to this option: 

  • While the Kurds are doing great things, they ultimately want to create their own country, which would share a border with Turkey, who sees them as a threat to its territory. Because the United States uses and needs Turkish air bases, it is dependent on its good will and may not want to anger its government by helping the Kurds too much.



Option D: Use more American Special Operations Forces

  • Currently, the U.S. has over 250 of these commandos who train local rebels in secret, keeping America out of an official “war”.


Downside to this Option: While these Special Ops troops may be successful, they may not be enough to take over the larger cities that ISIS controls. More ground troops will be needed. 



Option E: Establish an alliance of European and Middle Eastern nations to fight ISIS

  • This would include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States to create a military coalition that the United States would play a supporting role in. 


Downside to this Option:  Getting everyone together is very difficult--action is needed now.



Option F: Provide Humanitarian Assistance to the victims of ISIS

  • Air drop humanitarian assistance such as food, blankets, medicine, to the groups that are being threatened, like the Yezidi. 


Downsides to this Option: Very few, but force will be necessary to take back its territory.



Option G: Take economic action against the money ISIS controls

  • Freeze its access to international banks, which would limit its access to money and weapons. 

  • Every effort should be made to block it from selling its oil to Syria, Turkey, and other partners. 

  • Countries who buy oil from ISIS should be exposed and penalized by the world community.


Downsides to this option: Very few—but while important, these actions would not kill ISIS fighters—or, take back the land it controls. Military force will eventually be necessary.


Option H: Declare cyber war against ISIS 

  • This would include having our military hack into their websites that deal with recruitment, criminal activity for profit, as well as their command and control. 

  • Encourage Apple, Google, Twitter, and other social media companies to shut down terrorist accounts so that they are not used to plan, provoke or celebrate violence. 


Downsides to this Option: There are a number of encryption Apps that can be downloaded by ISIS to “get around” any cyber actions.



Option I: Setting up a No-Fly Zone in northern Syria 

  • This would have American planes prevent attacks on civilians, creating a safe space to allow humanitarian assistance and greater security. 

  • Doing so would also cut the supply routes of illegal oil, arms, and supplies going to and from Turkey to ISIS,


Downsides to this Option: Doing so will be complicated and expensive to run, would further involve us in the conflict and cost roughly $1 billion a month. American planes could strike those of Russia’s, creating an international incident. 



Option J: Monitor, watch, and do as little as possible

  • Seeing that the situation presents too many risks and complications, it may be best to be very careful with any options.

  • Downside to this Option:  Doing nothing allows ISIS to grow and hurts the reputation of the U.S. as a world leader, allowing Russia to have more of an influence, as well as other countries in the region.  History often shows that if aggressive parties aren’t fought, they often spread overseas, such as the case of 9-11.


Using the above information and your list of 3 options, answer this assessment


End of Inside the White House Situation Room 

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