navigate to thirteen or ed online

Lesson Plans
In the Shadow of Death
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 Three 40-minute periods


This lesson examines the progression of events leading to the Holocaust, in which over six million Jews and others were killed as a result of discrimination, hatred, and prejudice. The lesson will introduce students to the initial labeling and classification of Jews through the use of images on the Web. Students will then gather additional information about the history and effects of the Holocaust on survivors through the use of video and Web sites. This lesson would ideally accompany a literature study of Elie Wiesel's NIGHT or Anne Frank's THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:

  • Compare prior knowledge to factual study of the Holocaust and WWII

  • Listen to and analyze narrative accounts of the Holocaust through documentary

  • Describe the circumstances that led to the Holocaust (propaganda, segregation, etc.)

  • Analyze the conditions facing Holocaust victims in WWII


New York State Learning Standards

English Language Arts

Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding

Students will listen, speak, read, and write for information and understanding. As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information.

Standard 2: Language for Literary Response and Expression

Students will read and listen to oral, written, and electronically produced texts and performances from American and world literature; relate texts and performances to their own lives; and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent. As speakers and writers, students will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language for self-expression and artistic creation.

Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation

Students will listen, speak, read, and write for critical analysis and evaluation. As listeners and readers, students will analyze experiences, ideas, information, and issues presented by others using a variety of established criteria. As speakers and writers, they will use oral and written language that follows the accepted conventions of the English language to present, from a variety of perspectives, their opinions and judgments on experiences, ideas, information and issues.

Social Studies

Standard 2: World History

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

National Standards for History

Analyze cause and effect relationships, bearing in mind multiple causation, including 1) the importance of the individual in history; 2) the influence of ideas, human interests, and beliefs; and 3) causes (the role of the chance, the accidental, and the irrational).

National English Standards - National Council for Teachers of English

Standard 1

Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

Standard 7

Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

Media Components



Web Sites:

Hollerith Machine
Students can see what the Hollerith machine looks like and read a description of the machine on this Web site.

Photo of a Couple Walking
Two Jews are walking hand in hand, and the stars they were required to wear are visible on their coats. This image helps make the concept of the star more real as these people are shown in everyday surroundings.

Photo of the Star Required in France
Students can see the star that Jews were required to wear in France.

Photo of the Star Required in Germany
This site shows the star German Jews were required to wear.

Group Portrait
This is a group portrait of Jews in the Bedzin ghetto wearing the Jewish star.

Holocaust Museum's Timeline
This site provides a narrative of Nazi rule, and on the bottom of the page there is a timeline students can use to orient themselves to the order of events and other things occurring in the world during the time of the Holocaust.

National Holocaust Museum's Learning Center
This Web site has a wealth of information organized by topic. Students can move through topics reading information and viewing images to answer their own questions about the Holocaust.

National Holocaust Museum Online Exhibits
The Online Exhibits available here provide a very personal investigation of the events of the Holocaust. Students can visit and learn from the experience of one man through his personal journal, see images of internment, and learn more about many other elements of the Holocaust.


Per Class:

  • Computer(s) with Internet access
  • TV/VCR
Per Group of 2-3 Students:
  • Basic art supplies (construction paper, glue, markers, scissors, etc.)
Per Student:
  • Media Interaction Worksheet
  • Holocaust KWL Chart
  • Culminating Activity Guide