Review by Jennifer Sitkin, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2014

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Extensive resource collection supports teaching about the Holocaust

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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Pros: The museum's site has everything a teacher needs to create a comprehensive and engaging unit about the Holocaust.

Cons: The amount of resources available is overwhelming; it's difficult to find some materials due to the the site's overall organization.

Bottom Line: As a valuable resource for anyone teaching or learning about the Holocaust, time to explore and plan is necessary in order to make the materials effective.

There are an almost endless number of ways to use the resources U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's site. For starters, teachers can increase their own background knowledge, before moving on to access lesson plans, integrating the site's multimedia into lectures, or designing student-centered activities. 

For direct student use, the site's online exhibitions, as well as the links to videos and podcasts, are a great bet. To best support your students' learning, create some graphic organizers with guiding questions to help them navigate the site and retain what they learn for follow-up activities. Furthermore, the site could be an excellent starting point for students' independent research. On top of all this, the site's capabilities allow translation into a number of different languages, offering ELL students increased accessibility.

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The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum website offers educators a wealth of resources and guidelines for teaching about this sensitive topic. In addition to detailed lesson plans and a comprehensive Holocaust Encyclopedia, the site's lesson plans cover a wide-range of topics including Nazi Propaganda, and Responsibility and Resistance. Additionally, all of the plans come with detailed procedures and are standards aligned. 

The site also hosts a series of online exhibitions that include written content, images, and videos. There are a variety of topics, including Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, and Hidden Children of the Holocaust. In addition, the site offers some resources to teach about genocide, with detailed case studies and an examination of both current world events and what's being done to prevent future events. It should be noted that some of the site's content may be difficult for some students to read about or view. 

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The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's website is the next best thing to actually visiting the museum in Washington D.C. The materials featured on the site are up-to-date and ready for classroom use. The online exhibitions and lessons provide engaging content through first-hand accounts, powerful images, and compelling videos and podcasts.   

Best of all, beyond just reviewing the facts, the resources encourage critical-thinking and examine multiple perspectives. For example, in a lesson on responsibility students assess the actions of a range of people and determine their level of involvement and possible punishments. There are also extension activities that require students to explore the same issues in more recent genocides. Many of the articles on the site are written at a high level, and teachers may need to preview and provide the necessary support to ensure student understanding.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Thought-provoking online exhibitions and compelling lessons engage students in thinking and learning about the Holocaust, genocide, and discrimination.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Lesson plans cover a wide range of topics related to the Holocaust and genocide. In addition, teachers can use online exhibitions and other materials to create their own lessons, tailored to the units they teach.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Guidelines for teaching the Holocaust are provided to help teachers approach the subject matter in a sensitive and responsible way. Online professional development is offered. Every lesson plan includes detailed procedures and support materials.


Common Sense Reviewer
Jennifer Sitkin Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Amy K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Cornell Senior High School
Coraopolis, PA
Comprehensive look at a dark part of history-- useful for both teachers and students.

This site offers so much valuable information, is easy to navigate, and easy to read. There are lessons and information aligned to standards that are useful for classroom teachers. There are also plenty of links available for students as well. Besides first-hand accounts, and actually visiting the museum, this site is the next best thing. It works great as a stand alone resource in a classroom, but could also be used alongside any number of books dealing with the Holocaust that are often used at varying grade levels (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Number the Stars, The Diary of Anne Frank, Night, The Book Thief, etc.).

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