1. Book Title:

Number the Stars

2. Author:

Lois Lowry

3. Publisher and Date:

Houghton and Mifflin Co. 1989

4. Curriculum Developer:

Jennifer Simpson


5. Summary: Number the Stars is a story about Annemarie Johansen, a ten year old girl living in Denmark in 1943. Annemarie has a Jewish friend named Ellen Rosen. The story uses these and other fictitious characters to explain the real life events and struggles of life in Denmark during the German occupation. Annemarie deals daily with the strict soldiers and watches as Jewish businesses start to close and Denmark loses more and more control and power. As German soldiers begin to gather the Jews to "relocate" them, the Johansen family secretly fights to help keep their Jewish friends, the Rosen's safe. Annemarie and her family go through life threatening ordeals to help the Rosen family and other people escape from Denmark to Sweden. The story continues until Denmark is finally freed and Annemarie, along with all Danes, can finally welcome her Jewish friends home.


6. Social Studies Relevance: This book contains great relevance to many social studies topics. It teaches a great deal of history. The author uses fictitious characters to describe real life events of World War II and the Holocaust. The book also deals with geography and can be used as a wonderful springboard for understanding the geographical placement of the Western European countries and their relevance to the war. Students may explore anthropology as the students learn about the Danish culture and the Jewish Culture and traditions. Economics is also discussed as the book includes the facts about the business, food, and other various supplies that are lost or destroyed because of the German occupation. There is a great deal of political science addressed in the book. The issues of human behavior, forming organizations, forms of government, and many more are all addressed through this wonderful book.


7. Grade Level Focus: 4th and 5th

8. Relationship to Social Studies State Core:

4th Grade Objectives:

6040-0102 Formulate a plan to solve a problem and determine appropriate actions.

6040-0202 List and compare different cultural traditions and values of people in Utah and around the world.

6040-0304 use parallels and meridians, latitudes and longitudes to determine direction and location.


5th Grade Objectives:

6050-0 Explain how changes in cost or availability of resources can change the supply and market price of a product.

6050-0201 Outline the major historical events, people, wars, and documents that played a significant role in United States history from 1492 to the present.

6050-0304 Use maps to explain the geographic setting of historical and current events.

6050-0105 evaluate with other class members right and wrong actions, according to universal standards, as being morally acceptable or unacceptable.

Table of Contents


Lesson 1: Prereading Activity

Lesson 2: Carousel Brainstorming

Lesson 3: Simulation

Lesson 4: Response Journal

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Title of lesson: Number the Stars Prereading Activity

Subject Area: History, Geography

Grade level: 4th and 5th

Date: 13 May 1997



1. The students color code a map of Western Europe according to each countries involvement with the war (i.e. German Occupied Countries such as Denmark colored all one color, and Neutral countries such as Sweden are another color).

2. Students will locate on a map of Denmark the cities Copenhagen and Gilleleje and identify them on their maps.


Materials Needed:

Blank maps of Denmark and Western Europe for each student

Atlases or Social Studies text books

Overhead maps of Denmark and Western Europe

Overhead projector and pen



1. Ask the students to name all the places they know of that were involved in W.W.II.


2. Make a web on the chalkboard with W.W.II in the center and all the places the students come up with around the W.W.II word.


3. Teacher tells the students that W.W.II started with Germany, show the students on the overhead the map of Western Europe and point out Germany. Explain that all the countries they can see on the Western European map were affected in some way. There were many more countries involved as well but we will just focus on Western Europe for our unit. Point out Denmark and explain that this country is where our book takes place. It is a country that was overtaken by Germany so it was a German occupied country. The Germans had control of the people in Denmark.


4. Ask the students to color code their maps and make a key at the top of their papers. Write this information on the chalkboard:

Axis Power Countries





German Occupied Countries:






Neutral Countries:








Countries at War with Germany

Great Britain








5. Using an overhead map of Denmark, show the students where the city of Copenhagen is located. Have the students mark Copenhagen on their maps the name and place. As the students read about the Johansen's taking Ellen to Gilleleje (Chapter 6) have them again gather with the teacher with the overhead map of Denmark and point out the town Gilleleje. Have the students mark on their maps the town name and place.


6. As the book talks about helping Jews to escape to Sweden (Chapter 7 ) have the students look at their maps as a class and discuss why and how they would be going to Sweden. 1- It's very close to Denmark. 2- It is a neutral country which means people there are free to live how they want to, German soldiers are not there and they will be safe.



1. The maps of Western Europe and Denmark will be handed in to be checked for completion and accuracy and then handed back for the students' reference.

2. The students' participation in class discussions- comments and questions will also be a form of measurement for the teacher.


Title of Lesson: Carousel Brainstorming for Number the Stars.

Subject Area: History

Grade Level: 4th and 5th

Date: 13 May 1997



1. Identify a theme or most important message of the book Number the Stars and explain why that theme was chosen.

2. Identify prejudices that occur in our daily lives & that occurred in Number the Stars.

3. Label characters from the book according to the word that best describes them.



poster paper, one for every group, with a different open ended question on each paper

a different colored marker for each group



1. Explain to the students that there are posters with a question that needs to be answered. They will be in groups and will decide as groups the best answers. They can write down as many answers as they can think of in the time they have. The groups will rotate and add on to the posters until they have filled out each one. They need to add something new to each poster. They can't write something another group has already written. They must work as a team. One person in each group will be chosen to be the writer. Time them so that they have written a few good ideas but have not exhausted the possibilities for other groups. Watch the groups for how much they have written. After all groups have contributed at each poster, have each group choose their favorite answers at each poster by putting a star by them. Each group stops at a poster and reads the favorite things chosen.


2. Divide the class into groups, 4-6 people in each group. Have them stand together by one of the posters. Have one person from each group read the question on their poster for their group.


3. Poster #1 What are some important messages or things we can learn from the story Number the Stars?

Poster #2 Number the Stars talks about Germans prejudice's and unfair treatment of the Jewish people and the Danish people as well. List as many of these prejudices or unfair treatments as you can. On the second column, list any unfair treatments or prejudices that you observe in your daily lives. * If your class size is larger and you need 4 posters, this question can be turned into two questions. Poster #3 can be just to list the unfair treatments of the Jews. Poster #4 would be to list any unfair treatments the students observe in their lives.

Poster #3 Write the words that best describe these characters from Number the Stars.

Kirsti Annemarie German Soldiers Uncle Henrik Peter



1. Each group will be given a different colored marker so the teacher can measure the level of participation for each group.

2. The teacher will watch as they groups work to see which students are contributing. Those who are not will be recorded and asked specific questions at the end of the activity to check their understanding.


Lesson: Simulation for Number the Stars

Subject Area: History

Grade Level: 4th and 5th

Date: 13 May 1997



1. 6040-0102 Formulate a plan to solve a problem and determine appropriate actions. Students will make suggestions and help plan what to do once they have escaped to Sweden.

2. Students will simulate the experience of the Rosen's and other Jewish people escaping Denmark on a boat to Sweden and experiencing what life is like when they arrive in Sweden. They will participate in the simulation by acting out the parts they are asked to play and following directions of the teacher.



A large table or group of desks that the children can hide under and someone could walk on top of. An outdoor play area can also be used, such as a jungle gym.

A test for any student that is captured by the German soldiers.

A person to play the German Soldier



1. Gather the students in a small group and explain that they are Jewish people who will be attempting to escape on uncle Henrik's fishing boat in approximately 10 minutes. In order for them to make it they must listen to me very carefully and be very quiet. If they do not they will not make it to the boat in time and will be caught and captured by German soldiers.


2. Explain to students the severity of being captured by German Soldiers. It means they will take a very intense Number the Stars test while the rest of the class does the simulation. They will also miss two recesses, one of which will be spent with their head down at their desk and the other will be spent cleaning toilets. This is very extreme to help them begin to understand the pressures the Jewish people felt. Even though nothing can compare to the real situation! There will be an exception that if they are captured only the person misbehaving, talking, etc., will be captured instead of the entire company, as it would have been in real life. This is so that the rest of the class can enjoy the activity.


3. The direction is to follow the teacher very quietly- no one will be allowed to make any sound whatsoever- to the dock (desks) and get in a boat (under the desks) where they will hide underneath, just as they Rosen's and others did in Uncle Henrik's boat in the story. They will hide there for one-two minutes-( they still must remain absolutely silent) as German Soldier will get on the boat (desks) and walk around looking for them After this if they successfully remain hidden, they will be asked to get out one at a time so as not to hurt each other.


4. As soon as the entire group makes it successfully out of the boat, they will have made a safe escape to Sweden. They will all be aloud to let out a sigh of relief and quickly meet as a group to plan what they are going to do now that they are in Sweden.


5. The class will meet in a group around a chalkboard and they will brainstorm all the things they need to do. They will then choose which are priority and number them according to their importance.


6. We will carry out the plan and see if any problems arise. If they decided first they needed a shower and a meal then we would discuss the fact that they are in a strange country and they don't know anyone or the language. A suggestion would be to find other Jews who have escaped from Denmark so we can speak to them and find food and shelter. They will discuss what things may have worried them day to day as they lived in Sweden.


7. When the plan is successfully accomplished give each student a small bag full of Swedish fish candy or an authentic Jewish snack as their food!!


8. Debriefing: This is crucial to the simulation. Explain to the children that this was not real and they would not have been expected to really miss recessed, put their heads on desks, and clean toilets! Help them understand why we did the activity and how they felt as they were hiding in the boat.



1. The students will be evaluated by how well they can follow directions. They will be asked to play the part of the Jewish people escaping and really act as the Jews would had to have acted while they attempted to escape.

2. The students will be measured by how much they contribute to the group by making suggestions and helping other group members to get through the simulation.


* This lesson was adapted from; Frank Schaffer publications, Inc. Integrating Literature Series: Social Studies.


Title of Lesson: Response Journal for Number the Stars

Subject Area: History

Grade Level: 4th and 5th

Date: 13 May 1997




1. Students will compare and contrast traits and attributes of different characters in the story by using a Venn Diagram.

2. 6050-0105(modified) Students will evaluate right and wrong actions, according to universal standards, of characters in the book as being morally acceptable or unacceptable.

3. Students will write down thoughts and questions they have as they read each chapter

4. Students will analyze the codes used in the story and write down their meaning and reasons for why the codes were used during the war.


2 pieces of construction paper for each child

markers/colored pencils, etc.


lined paper



1. Make a journal for each student. Put lined paper inside two pieces of construction paper and staple the top. This become their journals to write in each day.


2. Give the journals to the students and ask them to decorate it with things related to the book. They need to have the title of the book on the cover and other related things. This may include a Danish word or phrase, such as, De Frie Danske (The Free Danes) which was the newspaper of the resistance. They may also draw the Star of David.


3. The first journal assignment is to write at least two questions and two thoughts they have as they read the first 20 pages- they may read up to 20 pages a day. The next day the teacher collects the papers and answers the questions and reads some of the thoughts. The students will continue to write questions and thoughts as they read the book and the teacher will collect often and discuss the questions and comments.


4. The second journal assignment is to make a Venn Diagram of Annemarie and Kirsti. The students should draw two circles and have them overlap in the middle. They will have one circle represent Annemarie and the other represent Kirsti. They write all the things Annemarie and Kirsti have in common in the overlapping circle, and each of the unique characteristics in their own circles. After reflecting on what each person is like, students will write how these unique traits may help or hurt them throughout the story and why. They will also choose which of the two characters they like best and why.


5. The third journal assignment will be as they read chapter 6 where Mr. Johansen speaks on the phone to Uncle Henrik in code. Have the students write down the code words and what they mean. For example; the code word Cigarettes is Jewish people that are coming to Henrik, 1 carton of cigarettes =Ellen "Is the weather good for fishing?"= Is it clear to get some people on your boat and help them escape to Sweden? They will also need to explain in the journal why codes were used during the war.


6. The fourth journal assignment will come at the end of the reading. They will write a letter to either Annemarie, Ellen, Kirsti, Peter, Uncle Henrik, or a German Soldier. In the letter, the students will ask any questions they have for the person, give any advice they would like to share, and tell the character how they feel about what they are doing in behalf of the war. They will express their feelings, whether they accept the characters actions or feel they are morally unacceptable. A letter to Uncle Henrik may say that the student really admires him risking so much of his own life to help many people escape to Sweden and he feels his action were morally acceptable and why.


7. The fifth and final journal entry will be for the students to, first reflect on all the characters in the book. The teacher will start the journal assignment together by writing on the board all the main characters. The students will choose one they most admire and that has qualities they would like to have. Write down the character, the qualities you like about that character, and one quality in particular that the student would like to develop and possess. They may also write down someone they know that really does have that quality already. It may be someone in the classroom, someone in their family, or someone else in history.



1. The students will be evaluated as the teacher reads the response journals. They will hand them in each day to be checked for questions and thoughts and specific journal assignments.