As a book of historical fiction, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry lends itself to a number of unique activities for students. Go beyond the basic question/answer and vocabulary format and delve into historical projects that spring from the book's setting and plot.
Free Number the Stars Activities Online
Number the Stars is a fictional account of a young girl named Annemarie living in Denmark during WWII. Her family helps a Jewish friend named Ellen Rosen escape the country to freedom in Sweden after the Nazis invade. The book, written from Annemarie's point of view, highlights the difficulties of not only growing up during a war, but also gives readers a glimpse into the horrors of wartime.
The complex storyline means this book usually makes it onto middle school reading lists, aimed at children in grades five and up. Teachers often choose children's books for both their potential interest to the students and for the ideas presented in the storyline. Using Number the Stars allows teachers to easily add some cross-curriculum activities into their lesson plans.
Teachers and parents who homeschool may want to have some activities planned for kids who are reading this book. Also, kids who want to delve further into the book themes may also want to consider doing some supplemental activities with Number the Stars. Free activities are available online at these websites:
- Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site offers several activity ideas, ranging from a cultural exploration of Denmark to investigating what happened to other groups of people persecuted by the Nazis.
- Scholastic has several Number the Stars lessons, including a writing prompt, extension activity and vocabulary builder.
- EasyFunSchool has questions and activities for a short literature unit on the book.
- ClassZone offers two pre-reading activities, two cross-curricular activities and two research projects perfect for classes studying Number the Stars.
- Book Punch offers a free download of a lesson plan if you fill out a short survey on the website.
- Use a short free trial period at Lesson Planet to get one of the 100-plus activity worksheets available for Number the Stars. Just remember to cancel your trial before you are charged.
A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust, produced by the University of South Florida's College of Education, offers a full unit on the book Number the Stars. Not only are suggested discussion questions included, but also a long list of activities. The activities range from an activity relating the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood to a climatic point in the book, to making posters featuring parts of literature to writing a letter to Papa, a character in the book. The lesson ideas could easily be broken up into several days' worth of activities.
The book is a thought-provoking chapter book for a book club, in addition to being perfect for personal reading and classroom reading. While activities are usually reserved for the classroom, many students may wish to do their own investigative inquiries into the Holocaust or WWII after reading Number the Stars. These free activities might include ideas like:
- Learning about how Denmark was affected by WWII through library research
- Interviewing a grandparent or senior citizen who was alive during the Holocaust about what his/her experience during the war
- Finding out what children can do to help those who are oppressed today
Students may also want to come up with their own investigative project to present to their parents or classmates about what they have learned after reading Number the Stars. Many ideas can be used as independent or group projects in the classroom or at home.
More About Number the Stars
Lois Lowry, author of the book, has won numerous awards for the book, including the prestigious Newbery Award. Other honors include being on the ALA List of Notable Children's Books and winning the Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. You can enrich your child's reading experience by using activities that reinforce the concepts of courage and undying friendships that are weaved into the text.