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Anastasia—Dead or Alive

Viewing Ideas

Before Watching

  1. Before watching, tell the students that this program investigates the story of a woman who claims to be a lost princess and the attempts to prove or disprove her claim. Explain that some of the arguments focus on observations of Anna Anderson's behavior and other arguments are based on data collected through empirical tests. Have the students create two columns on a sheet of notebook paper, the first column for observations of behavior and the second for data based on scientific studies. As they hear each argument during the program, have the students make notes in the appropriate column.

  2. Tell students that when someone questions Anna Anderson's identity in the program she responds, "Can you really tell me who you are?" Ask students what evidence they would use to prove their identity and list their ideas on the board. Then cross out all the evidence that Anna Anderson didn't have. Now ask students how they would prove their identity.

After Watching

  1. Ask students if they think the woman known as Anna Anderson was Princess Anastasia, and to support their arguments with information from the notes they made while viewing.

  2. For approximately 60 years, people involved in the Anastasia case were unable to prove the identity of Anna Anderson beyond a reasonable doubt. After DNA analysis was performed, many investigators cited the results of those tests as conclusive evidence about Anna Anderson's identity. How did the results of the DNA tests affect students' opinions about whether Anna Anderson could have been Anastasia Romanov? What effect does the DNA evidence have on the validity of other tests and arguments used to support Anna Anderson's claim? What are students' opinions about the use of DNA evidence to prove the identity of an individual? Under what circumstances would they accept such evidence? Under what circumstances would they doubt the validity of DNA evidence?

Teacher's Guide
Anastasia—Dead or Alive