A 7th Grade History Project
During our unit on the Holocaust, students have been thinking and writing about issues related to the events and experiences of those who lived and died during this period in history. Students have kept a running journal in their notebooks on the following topics:
Entry 1: What Do You Know?
1) Why is the Holocaust an important topic for US History students to learn?
2) What is the meaning of the term Holocaust? How does it apply to the time period in history of 1933 to 1945?
Entry 2: "Lost Childhoods"
Students looked at a poster from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum entitled "Lost Childhoods" containing images of children who were killed during the Holocaust. The images contained studio portraits, family snapshots, and school class pictures of children and families from the 1920s and 1930s in Eastern Europe.
A) Why do adults save pictures of children?
B) How are these children different from you? How are they similar?
C) Why did the Nazis kill children?
D) What is the value of these photos to people who survived or who knew these children?
E) Some people say the Holocaust never happened. Given that belief, what is the value of these photos?
Entry 3: This Train Revised (Lyrics found at http://www.ncte.org/lists/ncte-talk/may2000/msg00849.html)
Students listened to a song by the Indigo Girls called "This Train Revised." The song described the loss of identity and potential represented by the deaths of the many types of people arrested, departed, and killed by the Nazis. Students were asked to reflect on the themes and images contained in the song.
Entry 4: Daniel's Story
Students viewed a video entitled "Daniel's Story," which was a composite of the experience a child in nazi-occupied Europe. Students were asked to respond to one or more of these questions:
A) How did Daniel cope when he was discriminated against by the Nazis?
B) How do you cope when you experience discrimination?
C) Discuss this quotation: "Whatever we call a person or a group sets up the way we treat them."
D) Write a journal entry as if you were Daniel that describes a major event in your life.
E) Write and explain a one-line message to Daniel that reflects your feelings about his story.
F) Could events similar to those that led to the Holocaust occur today in the US? Could the rights of a certain group of people be taken away? How could public attitude towards a single group be completely altered? Explain your answer
Entry 5: What Have You Learned?
Students should reflect on the important theses of the Holocaust unit. After creating a class list, have the students write one or two paragraphs that describe:
1) what important lessons can the Holocaust teach us in today's world.
2) Identify aspects of life in modern 21st Century America that relate to the tragedy and triumphs of the Holocaust.
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