The Wave…


In 1967, history teacher Ron Jones conducted a social experiment with the students in his class at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, CA. He was the only person who knew it was an experiment, and by the fifth day, it had gotten out of control. 


55 years later… it came as a unexpected surprise 🙁

In spring 1967, in Palo Alto, California, high school history teacher Ron Jones conducted a social experiment in fascism with his class of 10th-grade 15-year-olds, meant to sample the experience of the attraction and rise of the Nazis in Germany before World War II. In a matter of days the experiment began to spin out of control, as the students and he became caught up in the excitement, confusion and chaos. This story has attracted considerable attention over the years through films, books, plays and even musicals. It serves as a teaching tool, used in schools worldwide, to facilitate discussion of the elements, appeal and dangers of extremism. Learn more at and at about this story.

Mark Hancock was a student in the original Wave class, and is now the historian for the story. Mark is Associate Producer and appears in both award-winning documentaries about The Wave, “Lesson Plan” and “The Invisible Line.” Mark is a graduate of the Yad Vashem International Seminar for Educators summer program, and has spoken in the media and at film festivals and Wave theater productions in several countries. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Gratz College, focusing on the rise of extremism; and holds a Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University. Learn more at about Mark’s activities.

LESSON PLAN: The Story of The Third Wave

Ron Jones | Wave Interview

I suspect the answers you seek are closer than some distant drum beat. It is the choices you make. The decision to include or exclude people from your life. To walk across the room to meet a stranger. The stranger in you and all of us. To trust yourself and others. To fight for justice and equality in the pulse of your life. To love your children. To be silly. Playful. Organize for a sense of community and better life for all. A life that can’t be given away to any fear or tyrant. A life that can’t be planned or explained, only appreciated.

The Third Wave (experiment)

‘Lesson Plan’ shown for first time in Palo Alto

Nazis in our classes: The 50-year-old lesson about fascism still terrifying us today

The Wave that changed the world

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