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Number the Stars Lesson Plan
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By using this lesson plan, teachers will be able to successfully guide their students through Lois Lowry's Number the Stars. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of loyalty and courage, despite existing adversity. Students will also do background research to become familiar with and gain meaning from life in Europe during World War II, focusing on the Jewish plight in Europe. Examples of guided discussion and study questions from this lesson plan include the following:
- What were the girls' mothers drinking instead of coffee? They were sipping hot water flavored with herbs because there was no real coffee or tea during the shortages caused by the war.
- Describe Uncle Henrik's house in Number the Stars. It was an old little red-roofed farmhouse with a crooked chimney and small, shuttered windows. There was a bird's nest above a bedroom window, and a nearby apple tree was speckled with a few long ripe apples. It was surrounded by wild-flowered meadows.
- What is Annemarie thinking while Peter reads the psalm aloud? When he reads the part about 'he who numbers the stars', she wonders how could anybody number them one by one, the sky is too big, there were too many. She remembers Ellen's mother thinking the sea was too big and too cold. She thinks the whole world is too big, too cold, and too cruel.
- Explain the significance of the handkerchief. The handkerchief contains a special drug that attracts the dogs, but when they sniff at it, it ruins their sense of smell. When the dogs show up at the harbor and start sniffing, the fishermen pull out their handkerchiefs.
- What parts of Number the Stars are historically accurate? The following events are historically correct: Denmark surrenders to Germany, the Nazi occupation of Denmark lasted five years, Denmark's beloved King Christian rode Jubilee, unguarded, each morning, a young boy really did say that all of Denmark was his bodyguard, the Danes really sunk their own navy, New Year of 1943 the rabbis did tell their synagogue congregations of the Germans' plans, and almost the entire Jewish population was smuggled across the sea to Sweden. The handkerchief is real too. It contained rabbit's blood to attract the dogs and cocaine to then numb their sense of smell. The locations in Copenhagen and Denmark are real, as well.
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