Lesson 5 of 5
Three 50-minute class periods

Creating Student Projects

From the Unit:

Essential Questions

  • What can be learned from stories of the Jewish partisans and their choice to resist during the Holocaust? 
  • How do partisans’ stories challenge the myth that Jews did not resist during the Holocaust? 

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the choices and dilemmas faced by their chosen partisan(s)
  • Describe the historical context for their partisan(s)
  • Synthesize and present information from a variety of sources obtained through research
  • Tell the story of their partisan(s) in a thoughtful and creative manner


This lesson is a student-driven learning project based on the stories of individual partisans that makes use of our Explore the Partisans section and other resources from the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation’s website. We encourage educators to implement the Understanding Resistance lesson prior to beginning this project to ensure that students have built sufficient foundational knowledge about the partisans.

The project culminates in a student-created classroom museum exhibition about the Jewish partisans. Through the careful exploration of individual partisans’ experiences, students can arrive at a larger understanding and appreciation of the Jewish resistance movement during the Holocaust.



  1. Introduce the Research Project
    • If you were unable to complete the Understanding Resistance lesson, begin by having students read Jewish Partisans in the Resistance and watch the video “Introduction to the Jewish Partisans.” Ask students to jot down their impressions of what it meant to be a partisan under German occupation.  You might consider creating a group Wordle from the student responses and posting it on the classroom wall as a reminder of these impressions as students continue working on this project. 
    • If you have completed the Understanding Resistance lesson in your class, help students recall what they learned by creating a K-W-L chart. To introduce this activity, ask students to fill out the first two columns: What I Know and What I Want to Know. You will return to this chart at the conclusion of the project.
  2. Complete Research Projects
    • Prior to explaining the project details, discuss the main research questions that will drive students’ exploration of their chosen partisan:
      • What motivated the partisan you are researching? Was there one main source of motivation, or were there many different sources?
      • What were the tactics your partisan employed? What were your partisan’s goals?
      • What were the risks were involved for your partisan in taking these actions, and what were the consequences?
    • Explain to students that they will work in groups to create a museum-like display dedicated to the Jewish partisans. Using this project-based learning approach, students will have the opportunity to be creative in presenting the narratives of their chosen partisans.
    • Each group will research, curate, and design a display based on the story of their assigned partisans using the documents and images provided. Students are also encouraged to incorporate photos from the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation website, as well as conduct their own outside research.
    • Divide the class into groups of four students. Each group will use the Explore the Partisans resource to choose a partisan to focus on for their project. The collection includes historical information about the Jewish experience in each partisan’s country, interview transcripts, and links to short documentary films and video testimonies. 
    • Before the groups begin their projects, review the Assessment Rubric with the class so students are clear about what is required for their museum presentations.
  3.  Present Museum Displays
    • Once all the projects are complete, have the groups set up their museum displays throughout the classroom. Then give students time to tour the displays on their own. Ask them to take notes at each display if they see elements that interest them.
    • Invite each group to take five minutes to present their display to the class. Once presentations are complete, consider using Project Zero’s See-Think-Wonder routine to encourage careful observation and thoughtful interpretation of the museum displays.
  4.  Synthesize and Wrap Up
    • Following the museum activity, ask students to reflect in their journals on the narratives they have encountered about Jewish resistance in the Holocaust. You might assign one of the following prompts: 
      • What can be learned from stories of the Jewish partisans? What motivated these people and drove the choices they made to resist during the Holocaust?
      • How do these stories challenge your former knowledge of the Holocaust?
    • To wrap up the activity, return to the K-W-L chart that you used to begin the lesson. Give students time to complete the final column and to share their responses from each column.

Looking for a Research Project for Your Students?

Investigate the lives of the Jewish partisans with these multimedia resources.


Lesson 1 of 5

Understanding Resistance

Students learn about the concept of resistance as they are introduced to firsthand experiences of the extraordinary Jewish partisans. 

Lesson 2 of 5

Frank Blaichman: Ethics in a Time of Genocide

Students discover how a partisan unit developed its own ethical framework in the face of life-threatening situations.

Lesson 3 of 5

Vitka Kempner: Identity and Resistance

Students consider how identity, and in particular how age and gender, shaped a partisan's actions.

Lesson 4 of 5

Sonia Orbuch: Becoming a Partisan

Using a role identifying activity, students analyze the various roles undertaken by a teenage partisan during the Holocaust.

Lesson 5 of 5

Creating Student Projects

Using a project-based learning approach, students produce a museum exhibition that displays the stories of different partisans.

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