Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

NOTE TO EDUCATORS: The BrainPOP movie featured in this lesson plan (Holocaust) describes the systematic murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust. Some students may find it difficult to watch. Consider previewing the movie before showing it to the class.

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 6-12, students explore BrainPOP resources to learn about one of the most tragic times in history, the  Holocaust. They’ll learn about Hitler, what his Nazi party promised, and how he rose to power. They’ll also learn a little about the history of anti-Semitism in Europe. Applying what they learn, students will analyze primary source photographs showing the liberation of concentration camps near the end of World War II.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Share what they know about the Holocaust.
  2. Watch a BrainPOP movie and review resources about the Holocaust.
  3. Identify the meaning of Holocaust-related vocabulary.
  4. Analyze a primary source.
  5. Discuss questions and concerns.

Materials:

  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard

Vocabulary:

antisemitism, genocide, ghetto, Holocaust, Nazi, scapegoat

Preparation:

  • Preview the movie Holocaust to plan for any adaptations.
  • Assign the Holocaust Vocabulary to the whole class by clicking Assign Vocabulary at the bottom of the page.
  • Assign the Primary Source activity to the whole class.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Tell students that today they will watch a BrainPOP movie about a tragic time in world history called the Holocaust. Ask students what they know about the Holocaust, or be more specific and ask what they know about Hitler and the Nazi party. Write their responses on the board. Depending on how students respond, you may choose to clarify any misinformation.
  2. Show the movie Holocaust on the whiteboard to the whole class. Pause to explain and clarify as needed.
  3. Tell students to log on to their BrainPOP accounts and open the Holocaust Vocabulary assignment.  Alternatively, you can print out and distribute the list to complete offline.
  4. Show the movie again, pausing when the terms on the vocabulary list are defined. Encourage them to use their own words when writing definitions to ensure understanding.
  5. After watching the movie two times, open the  Primary Source activity on the whiteboard. Tell students you’ve assigned this activity to them, and instruct them to open it now. Remind students that primary sources are first-hand, historical records, such as photographs, letters, diary entries, books, etc.
  6. Read aloud the Primary Source activity instructions, and preview the questions. Before clicking the VIEW button, let students know that the images they are about to see are upsetting. Allot time to discuss the images if needed. Click the VIEW button and have students do the same at their devices. Read aloud the captions.
  7. Now instruct students to answer the questions. Model on the whiteboard how they can reduce the size of both windows (questions and images) so they can examine the images as they answer the questions.
  8. Circulate as students work on this activity, providing support as needed.
  9. After everyone has completed the assignment, have students share their responses to the questions. Encourage students to ask any questions they might have about this topic and/or share their concerns. Allow time for a follow up discussion.

Extension Activities:

  • Ask students to consider this quote from Tim at the end of the movie, “I know. The whole thing is really scary and horrible. But it's important to remember it and talk about it, so that it doesn't happen again.” Discuss what this means while considering the vocabulary words scapegoat and antisemitism.  Ask students to think about how they might encourage others to be empathetic towards one another and particularly people who might appear different from them. Students can then brainstorm ways they can promote peace and kindness in their school or community.  Point out that no act is too small, from standing up to a bully to visiting a lonely, older neighbor.
  • Play Time Zone X: World War II and put key historical events in chronological order.
  • Divide the class into groups of four. Have each person in the group read a different FYI. Then have them share what they learned with the group.