Lesson Plan

Studying the Holocaust

Jews Forcibly Pulled Out of Dugouts, 1943

National Archives

Echoes & Reflections

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School, High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

This unit introduces students to the Holocaust by providing a vocabulary for studying the Holocaust and establishing a rationale for the importance of learning about instances of mass atrocity and genocide. Students explore the value of examining different types of source material when studying the Holocaust, with a special emphasis on visual history testimony. Students will explore prewar Jewish life in order to appreciate the rich diversity of the Jewish world. They will consider who the Jews of Europe were before persecution by the Nazis, and the commonalities they share with young people from different times and places.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify prior knowledge about the Holocaust and the sources of their knowledge.
  • Define Holocaust and genocide, and compare several definitions of the Holocaust.
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary source material and explain why each is important when studying historical events.
  • Investigate the diversity of prewar Jewish society through the voices of teenagers of that era.
  • Describe trends and challenges in the prewar Jewish world.
  • Reflect on visual history testimony from Jewish survivors and others who witnessed the Holocaust.
  • Explain why it is important to study the Holocaust and instances of mass atrocity and genocide.