I teach ancient history and I always remind my kids that while the people we talk about did some amazing things, they also did some pretty awful stuff because people have always been complex and we have to acknowledge the good and the bad. One of my favorite assignments is, “Was Alexander Really that Great?” Most of them come to a very mixed conclusion.
If 6th graders can understand, I’m not really sure why adults struggle.
ETA: For those who are “informing” me that “the Great” does not necessarily mean good, but historically significant, I am aware (I have a degree in history). I cover it in my lesson since this is typically one of the first times my students learn about a historical figure with such a title. The question is simply a play on the name which works well for 11 year-olds. The purpose of the assignment is two-fold: to understand the accomplishments of Alexander the Great (which is part of our standards) and to also consider the complexity of historical figures, which I consider to be one of the life lessons of my subject.
These posters are a great resource to help younger students consider/debate the actions of people on history: https://www.teachersdiscovery.com/product/world-history-hero-or-villain-mini-posters-set-of-10/social-studies
Also: Thanks for the awards. This blew up in ways I was definitely not expecting.