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Lesson Plans
Struggling to Survive: Life in Sarajevo

Adrienne Kupper
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
Four 45-minute classes


War is one of the most brutal and destructive things that a society can endure. Bombing, gunshots, and mortar fire can turn a beautiful, vibrant city or a lush, open countryside into a barren wasteland littered with burned-out buildings and charred remains of trees and wildlife. Even more than the physical damage, though, is the emotional damage that wars cause to people. The hardships of war pit people against each other; not just the people on either "side" of the conflict, but friends, family, and neighbors who are simply trying to exist under extreme duress.

Through the activities in this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the impact that wars have on society. They will use Web sites to gain information about Sarajevo, create characters using what they learn from watching video clips and viewing news footage online, and they will participate in whole-group role-playing activities.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:

  • Explain the history of the conflict in Sarajevo/Bosnia
  • Describe how this conflict affected the people living in Sarajevo
  • Write a monologue from the point of view of a person living in Sarajevo
  • Compare this conflict to other similar conflicts in the world


New York State Social Studies Standards

2. World History
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives. (NYS SS 2)

Media Components


Signal to Noise

Life With Television, Episode #2: “TV Reality?”

Web Sites:

CNN Interactive Almanac 1995: Sarajevo Market Attack

This Web site has two short newsreels about the aftermath of the Bosnian Serb attack on a Sarajevo marketplace. The video, at times, is graphic and not appropriate for young viewers. Requires QuickTime VR.

Cool Planet: Bosnia and Herzogovina

This site has information about the history, geography, and society in Bosnia. It also presents a brief, simple history of the conflict in Bosnia.