These lesson plans are appropriate for use with 7th -12th grade students. Teachers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Guidelines for Teaching the Holocaust and to contact MCHE with any pedagogical questions.
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History-Based Holocaust Lesson Plans
- Auschwitz Album Photo Analysis
This lesson plan utilizes the Auschwitz Album to help students understand how to analyze photographs and derive historical information from them.
- Evaluating Nazi Propaganda
This lesson plan utilizes the vast collections of the German Propaganda Archive to familiarize students with Nazi propaganda materials and works them through a process of understanding the power of propaganda in establishing the societal norms that allowed the Holocaust to happen.
- Holocaust and WWII Photo Timeline
This lesson plan utilized parallel photographic timelines to help students understand the correlation of the events of the Holocaust with the military events of World War II.
- Jewish Responses to the Holocaust – Testimony-based exercise
This lesson plan utilizes primary source testimony to explore the “choiceless choices” faced by Jews during the Holocaust. Students are then asked to consider the differences between individual, social, political and armed responses.
- Jewish Responses to the Holocaust – Discussion and Critical Thinking Exercise
This document based discussion and critical thinking exercise allows students to explore the dilemas and decisions faced by Jews trying to cope with the events of the Holocaust. In analyzing these “choiceless choices” students begin to gain a nuanced understanding of “why the Jews didn’t just leave/resist/etc.”
- Mapping Auschwitz-Birkenau
This lesson plan utilizes maps and archival photographs to give students a geographical understanding of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the arrival process at the camp. Used in connection with a survivor memoir, this lesson helps students build a concrete understanding of how Jews experienced selection and were moved either to the gas chambers or were processed into the camp.
- MCHE Witnesses to the Holocaust Archive Curriculum
This lesson plan offers methods for incorporating the video testimony of local Kansas City survivors into your Holocaust unit.
- Resources for Teaching about Antisemitism
These resources include teacher notes, a student worksheet and a timeline of antisemitism.
Literature-Based Holocaust Lesson Plans
- Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story
This curriculum unit offers historical context and support for the memoir Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story by Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan.
- Growing Up In The Holocaust
This curriculum unit offers historical context and support for the memoir Growing Up In The Holocaust by Kansas City survivor Ben Edelbaum.
- Heroism Project: Wrapping Up A Unit On Night
This lesson plan is a culminating activity for a unit on Night. Students are asked to research other humanitarians or organizations who are currently advocating for victims and explores issues of other genocides.
This curriculum unit offers historical context and support for the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel.
- Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps
This curriculum unit offers historical context and support for the autobiography Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps by Andrea Warren. It is the true story of Kansas City survivor Jack Mandelbaum.
- Using Literature Excerpts in your Holocaust Class
This lesson plan offers a method for students in any setting or discipline to learn from small excerpts of testimony. This method is an ideal way to personalize the history by utilizing testimony in settings where time does not allow for longer texts such as diaries or memoirs.
Aftermath of the Holocaust Lesson Plans
- Evaluating Genocidal Policy
This lesson plan provides students with case studies of genocides since the Holocaust and asks them to explore the evidence based on the UN Genocide Convention’s definition of genocide.
- Genocide Since the Holocaust
This collection of resources and teaching ideas helps students examine the stages of genocide and apply them to modern genocides.
- Nuremberg Trials
This lesson plan asks students to utilize primary source documents to evaluate the film “Nuremberg.” While many people are initially exposed to the Holocaust through film, the purpose of this exercise is to refine the students’ abilities to analyze, synthesize and evaluate historical documents.
Relating the Holocaust to other Genocides Lesson Plans
- Bystanders in the Holocaust and Rwanda
This lesson explores testimony of bystanders to the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. It encourages students to understand what it means to be a bystander and to refrain from being one in the future.
- Document Based Question on Resistance in the Holocaust and Rwanda
This document based question explores resistance in both the Holocaust and Rwanda. It is designed to allow students to practice all the necessary DBQ skills while learning about the Holocaust. Approaches to deconstructing the DBQ and utilizing the documents in other settings are explored.
- Children’s Genocide Diaries – Bitton-Jackson and Zlata’s Diaries
Utilizing the memoir I Have Lived A Thousand Years (Holocaust) and Zlata’s Diary (Bosnia), this lesson plan allows students to analyze and explore the impact of genocide on children.
- Children’s Genocide Diaries – Sierakowiak and Zlata’s Diaries
Utilizing The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak (Holocaust) and Zlata’s Diary (Bosnia), this lesson plan allows students to analyze and explore the impact of genocide on children.
- Children of Genocide: Communicating Through Art
This lesson plan helps students analyze art created by children during the Holocaust and the genocide in Darfur.
- Connecting a Holocaust Memoir Study to Modern Genocides
This lesson plan helps students make relevant connections amongst genocides by utilizing first hand testimony of genocide survivors and witnesses at the conclusion of any Holocaust memoir study.
- Propaganda in the Holocaust and Rwanda
This unit explores propaganda utilized by a variety of media outlets in both the Holocaust and Rwanda. It was specifically designed to help middle school students learn about the elements of propaganda and their effective use, but has wide applications in high school and history settings.
- Recognizing Genocide – A Study of the 8 Stages
This unit, designed to follow a Holocaust memoir or literature reading, asks students to analyze primary sources from 20th century genocides, familiarizes them with the Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and examines the 8 stages of genocide.
General Tools and Units to Utilize in Holocaust Education
- Research Paper Unit
This lesson plan helps teachers effectively guide their students through the research process, step by step. Guidelines for the paper, templates, and activities that can be used and adapted for any research paper are provided.
USHMM Online Exhibition Lesson Plans and Resources
- Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race Resources
These lesson plans, historical resources and information about eugenics in America correlate to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online exhibition Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race which details the T4 euthanasia program in Nazi Germany.
- THE NAZI OLYMPICS Berlin 1936
These lesson plans correlate to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online exhibition The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936.