Teacher-Created Unit: Universe of Obligation, The Holocaust in Europe

Brittany B. from Northborough, MA, wrote this 5- to 6-week unit for an integrated Facing History and Ourselves elective course taught in 11th/12th grade. The unit explores the history of the Holocaust from 1935–1945. Students explore the sequence of events leading up to the Nazis’ “Final Solution” and examine two stories of individuals who took on different roles during the genocide, including victims, perpetrators, bystanders, and upstanders. Brittany’s unit includes two performance tasks.

“In my mind, the Common Core focus on literacy skills is really about evidence gathering, reading, and then developing either arguments or summaries that match the evidence in the text you have examined…. Common Core and Facing History are blended together almost perfectly. We have the content aspect and these rich readings that are both primary and secondary sources that kids are pulling apart and re-arranging to create their own unique arguments and perspectives." —Brittany B.

Brittany’s Performance Tasks

Task 1: Holocaust Museum Exhibit (project)

After reading various texts on the Holocaust, create a museum exhibit in which you describe one particular aspect/topic/event from the Holocaust. Support your discussion with evidence from the texts and outside resources.
Based on Task #12 for Informational/Definition found in Literacy Design Collaborative's LDC Template Task Collection 2.0.

Task 2: Unit Reflection (written assessment)

What Drives Our Choices about Our Universe of Obligation, Especially in Times of Crisis?

After reading the article on Max Schmeling, examining theories of Social Psychology, and experiencing our Holocaust museum, write an essay in which you address the questions and argue which factors influence our choices. Support your position with evidence from the texts, materials used in the unit, and the museum projects.

Based on Task #2 for Argumentation/Analysis found in Literacy Design Collaborative's LDC Template Task Collection 2.0.

Download Brittany's Unit

You can download Brittany’s complete five- to 6-week unit here.

Get the LDC Template Task Collection 2.0

The Literacy Design Collaborative Template Task Collection 2.0 helps teachers craft tasks that engage students in writing in response to reading or research. When filled in, a template task becomes a teaching task that sets up a context for teaching the specific skills and demands embedded in the Common Core Anchor Standards.

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Facing History Resources That Brittany Used

Holocaust and Human Behavior

Print book,

Get the new edition of our core resource that examines the challenging history of the Holocaust while prompting reflection on our world today.


Streaming Video

Set during World War II and based on a true story, “Pigeon” recounts a rare and startling act of charity.


Class set

This work by Elie Wiesel reveals his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–45, at the height of the Holocaust.

I Promised I Would Tell

Print book,
Book cover shows Samuel Bak painting

Survivor Sonia Schreiber Weitz bears witness to the Holocaust through poetry and testimony in this powerful memoir.

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