Selected Learning Activities

Example 1: The Rise of Adolf Hitler

·         Ask students what they know about Adolf Hitler. Discuss briefly and introduce the question: Why was Hitler able to rise to power in Germany?

·         If possible, take students to computer lab or library and log onto  to watch video clips of Adolf Hitler speaking. Note that Hitler's speaking skills and pageantry at Nazi rallies were part of his allure.

·         Explain to students that they are each going to look at one of the circumstances that helped Hitler come to power and encourage them to form their own opinions on his rise to attempt world dominance.

·         Review with students after watching video clips some of these reasons like: The Great Depression in Germany, his appeal to German Citizens, the weakness of the Weimar Republic, and the Treaty of Versailles.

·          Break students up into small groups and tell groups that each member should form their own opinion and develop a theory to explain Hitler's rise to power. Then as a group have them report and defend their theories.

Example 2: The Holocaust

·         This activity will be centered around the website:

·         At the conclusion of this assignment, students will understand the progression of the Holocaust by examining German propaganda, photos, videos and first- hand accounts form the early years (1933) through the end of World War II (1945). Students will evaluate the responsibility of people that caused, participated in, and tried to prevent the Holocaust.

·         Students will be divided into four groups and be given time to explore the web site.

·         Each group will be given an area to concentrate on. The four areas will be: propaganda, early photos and video, who was responsible, and who were those who helped.

·         Each group will be given a fact sheet to fill out and storage media to save their work.

·         Each group will create a PowerPoint presentation including the facts that they have accumulated during the assignment.

·         Each student will present a part of the group’s presentation and will be assessed by their contribution.

·         The overall goal of this assignment is to put all this information together at the end to create an overall view of the holocaust and promote discussion about the subject.


Example 3: Japanese Internment during World War II

·         Students will learn about the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent relocation of thousands of Japanese American citizens on the west coast of the United States.

·         Students will analyze photos, predict what they think photos are of, and they will read text and compare and contrast this with the current United States policy regarding citizens from countries which have attempted to attack the United States.

·         Students will answer the question “Could this happen today?"

·         Students will download a worksheet for photo analysis from

·         Photos for observation will be downloaded from

·         Hand out photos to students in small groups with paper or note cards for taking notes.

·         Allow students about five minutes to look at the photos and discuss what they see as a group. Once you feel they have had sufficient time to observe the photos, ask them to complete the photo analysis worksheet and share a few responses as a class.

·         Explain to students what is going on in the photos and give an overview of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Japanese Internment.

·         Once you have finished your explanation, open the floor for discussion. Ask the students what they think about what happened to the Japanese Americans. Did the United States violate their civil rights? Do they think it helped win the war?