Holocaust Education For Children: Lesson Plans

Bookshelf and Menorahs

When planning to teach the Holocaust to elementary grade students in Kindergarten through fourth grade, the following themes are the most appropriate. The actual study of the Holocaust begins in fifth grade.



First Grade:


Second Grade:

Different and Alike

Third Grade:


Fourth Grade:


Fifth Grade:

The Holocaust

When teaching Holocaust Education in the K - 4 classroom, it is important to understand the rational behind teaching history to young children. A Teacher's Guide To The Holocaust, from the University of South Florida, has excellent guidelines and many activities.

A lesson plan and activities for each of the grade levels will be given. As time progresses more will be added to this site.


Objectives:To understand that differences make each of us special.
    To understand that people are the same and different.

    Read to the class We're Different, We're the Same, by B.J.Kates.
    Ask questions of students and ask others to raise their hands if they share the same answer.
         My favorite food is____?
         My favorite day of the week is____ because____.
         The clothes I like best are_____.
         The TV show I like best is_____.
    Pair students and have them notice ways in which they are alike and different. Have one partner tell how they are alike and the other tell how they are different. Point out that despite differences, there are many more ways people are alike.

First Grade

Objectives:To understand the concept of stereotyping and prejudice and to appreciate diversity.
    To encourage cooperation.

    Read to the class The Crayon Box That Talked, by S. DeRolf.
    Ask the following questions.
        Why do the yellow and green crayons say they don't like the red one?
        In what way does the little girl use the crayons when she gets home?
        What happens when the colors touch each other?
        When the picture was finished what changed the crayons opinions of each other?
        What is the message of the story?
    Reinforce and discuss the concepts of prejudice, diversity, and cooperation from the story. Have children think about other examples of these ideas.

Second Grade

Objectives:To accept differences.
    To understand that actions affect others and ourselves.

    Read the poem Jason's Wish by D. Byrne.
    Discuss what the world would be like if everyone were alike.
    Give each pupil a paper plate with the eyes and nose cut out. Have each child hold the plate over their face and turn out the lights. Children will move around the room and try to identify each other. Discuss why this is difficult to do.
    Have children color in their plates and put in their own features. Students should be aware that no two faces are alike.
    We must celebrate being different. What would happen if everyone had exactly the same bicycle? What if orange were the only color? We must appreciate each other for what we are.

    Third Grade

    Objectives:To acquaint students with the multi-ethnic, multicultural makeup of America's citizens.
        To understand the nature of prejudice.


    Fourth Grade

    Objectives:To introduce students to the choices faced by non-Jews during the Holocaust.
        To introduce the role of rescuer.

      Read to the class Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
      This link will provide a multitude of activities.

      Read to the class Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story, by K. Mochizuki.
          (For background information: Chiune Sugihara, Rescuer)
      Ask the following questions:
          Who is the narrator?
          What is the occupation Hiroki Sugihara's father?
          Where did the Sugihara family live? Where did Mr. Sugihara work?
          Why did hundreds of people gather outside of Mr. Sugihara's house?
          Where did they come from?
          Describe the people outside Mr. Sugihara's house.
          What did the people want Mr. Sugihara to do?
          Why was it important for Mr. Sugihara to do it quickly?
          Why was Mr. Sugihara not able to write the visas?
          How did Mr. Sugihara try to solve the problem?

    Other issues that can be explored with this book:
      The difference in helping a friend and in helping a stranger.
      Personal risk may be necessary in order to stand up and do what is right.
      One person can make a difference.

      *More Great Lesson Plans*

      Yom Hashoah

      Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, took place on May 2, 2000. This is the day that we remember the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. It is a time when we can discuss with young children the values of appreciating differences, respect for others, prejudice, cooperation and caring for our fellow human beings. The following activity is suggested by Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Education Specialist/Holocaust Studies for Miami/Dade Schools and The Holocaust Memorial, Miami Beach, FL, and Lisette Kabak Weingard, teacher, at Highland Oaks Elementary.

      "Stars of Hope"
      Have students create "Stars of Hope" by cutting and decorating individual stars out of construction paper and writing one hope they have for the future in the center. This project can be done school wide by creating a bulletin board or designated area entitled "Stars of Hope" where students can place their star and share with peers,staff and parents.

      Sample Lesson Plans     Teaching Resources      Credits     Home

      Website designed by Evelyn G. Stahl
      email me

      Web Site updated May 10, 2000