Museum Fellowship Lesson Plans

  Schutzpolizist und Hilfspolizist mit Hund
Policeman and assistant with dog.
Source: Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14381

Getting Our Facts Straight! Holocaust Group Research Projects
Niki Locklear
Simon Kenton High School
Independence, Kentucky




Students work together on a Holocaust group research project that is evaluated according to a set project rubric. This lesson supports the goal stated in Teaching about the Holocaust—A Resource Book for Educators, United States Holocaust Museum. Each student will realize that “The Holocaust was not an accident in history—it occurred because individuals, organizations and governments made choices that not only legalized discrimination but also allowed prejudice, hatred, and ultimately, mass murder to occur.” 


  • Students will understand the democratic principles of justice, equality, responsibility, and freedom and apply them to real-life situations.
  • Students will observe, analyze, and interpret human behaviors, social groupings, and institutions to better understand people and the relationship among individuals and among groups.
  • Students will understand, analyze, and interpret historical events, conditions, trends, and issues to develop historical principles.

Time Required

Three 90-minute class periods, plus the weekend for independent work.

Grade Level

Grades 10-12 

Curriculum Fit

Social Studies, Holocaust Studies, and Literature 

Procedure / Strategy

Day One - In order for the student to be able to comprehend the magnitude of the mass terrorism, prejudice, and destruction of innocent lives during the Holocaust, they must do concentrated research. Using KWL strategy, students first list what they believe they Know to be true about this most inhuman time-period in modern history. Next, the students brainstorm about What they want to know more about concerning the Holocaust and key persons involved with the mass deportations and exterminations. As the teacher, I will supplement additional topics to their list. Working collaboratively, the students will group the questions according to subject areas. The final project will be a PowerPoint presentation to the class with a handout for notes.

They then will break up into small groups and go to the library media center to research their chosen topics. Each group is responsible for teaching their findings to the entire class with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation. This activity is to access students’ prior knowledge and build historical background about the Holocaust for understanding the literature we will be reading during this unit.

Day Two - Students will spend the ninety-minute period creating their PowerPoint presentation. All the students have been trained to use PowerPoint program. They will have divided the presentation up among the group, composed their portions and save them to the school web sever, and finally burned the entire program onto a CD-ROM or DVD. I generally begin the unit on a Thursday; Friday is in the computer lab, and this gives the students the weekend to “tweak” the presentation scheduled for Monday.

Student Guidelines

  1. Each group will consist of four to five members.
  2. Select a topic from the list below—one per group on a first come, first serve basis.
  3. Record the “What do we want to know?” questions generated in class to use as a basis for your research and report.
  4. Select a facilitator and a timekeeper; determine what information needs to be researched and by whom.
  5. Each group must utilize both hard copy and Internet resources.  A minimum of four resources must be cited for each group’s report.
  6. PowerPoint presentation must include a title slide, photographs with documentation, works cited slide, and a minimum of ten additional slides with text.  The groups will print out a black/white copy of the PowerPoint program and a typed copy of their notes for the teacher.
  7. Each group member is to participate equally in the oral presentation. Note cards maybe used for statistical information only. An outline of the presentation is to be given to the rest of the class to aid note taking.  Total presentation time, including a question and answer period, is 15 minutes.
Holocaust Group Research Topics:

I. The Victims

A. Jews
B. Romas
C. Homosexuals
D. Jehovah Witnesses
E. Handicapped
F. Political prisoners
G. Criminals

II. Work/Labor and Death Camps

A. Mauthausen
B. Terezin or Theresienstadt
C. Dachau
D. Auschwitz I
E. Auschwitz II/Birkenau
F. Buchenwald

III. Major Nazi Players

A. Adolf Hitler
B. Adolf Eichmann
C. Dr. Joseph Mengele
D. Rudolf Hess
E. Heinrich Himmler

IV. Oscar Schindler

A. Character
B. Pre-War
C. War Involvement/Nazi connection
D. Schindler’s List
E. Post-War

V. Resistance and Repercussions

A. Obstacles facing the victims/prisoners
B. Resistance in the Ghettos and Camps (unarmed or armed)
C. Kristallnacht

VI. Periods of Restrictions and Internment 1939-1941

A. Solving the “Jewish Question”
B. Anti-Semitic Decrees
C. Judenrat
D. Einsatzgruppen
E. Final Solution

VII. Liberation

A. Allied Forces
B. Nuremberg Trials
C. State of Israel
D. Personal Possessions


Evaluation / Assessment

Day Three - The presentations are evaluated on accuracy of information, choices of resources/materials, understanding of subject matter, visual presentation, organizations and extensions (going beyond the requirements of the assignment.)  Students are given the rubrics and scoring sheet the day the assignment is given to them so that they are fully aware of the evaluation process.

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