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Number the Stars Free Unit Study

Number the Stars

Author: Lois Lowry
ISBN: 0440227534

Unit by Ginger A.

Due to the content of this novel it seems best suited for upper elementary students. Number the Stars is an excellent book to introduce children to the World War II time period. This unit is designed to give students a view of the effects of this war across Europe and in the United States of America.

Language Arts

After reading each chapter, have your child narrate or write a few questions about the reading. If he is able to formulate the question, he knows the answer.

Write a list of characters and add information about each as the novel progresses. This is a work of historical fiction but the characters are very believable. Why? Discuss how the feelings and emotions change throughout the novel. The characters are not always brave and perfect, they have flaws and weaknesses.

After reading the events on pages 33-38, rewrite this part from Ellen’s parents point of view. How did the parents feel while separated from their daughter? What are some things that could happen to Ellen?

Make a vocabulary list of words you are not familiar with and design a vocabulary test. The test should include matching, true or false, and fill in the blank.

Social Studies

Read more about the Jewish Faith and Holidays mentioned in this novel. Discuss the holidays you participate in that are related to your faith. Discuss how our beliefs define us and that it is impossible to be separate from our beliefs.

Research the life of King Christian the 10th. Why were the Danes so devoted to him? How did he feel about the Jews in his country? Compare/Contrast King Christian with another leader.

What is the dominate religion in Denmark? What was the relationship between most of the Christians and Jews in Denmark? Find out how many Jews were smuggled to safety by Danes. [It is amazing!]

What is the Star of David? Why did Annemarie jerk the necklace from Ellen’s neck? In the USA are you frightened to wear a cross, crucifix or other religious symbol? What protects our right to do so? [Note: The Denmark Jews did not wear the Star of David armbands.]

Parents tell your child that he must evacuate his home in 5 minutes. Set the timer and begin packing. What is most important? What must be left behind? Go outside and discuss the fear of being forced to leave without warning. Talk with your child about the laws that protect us and our property. Have these laws ever been violated? During war time?

The soldiers enter and search the Johansen home. What is required before an officer can search a home in the USA?

There are many sites on the Holocaust.[ If your child is ready for this information.]

This site has a picture, name and age of about 12 children.

 Parents need to preview sites before allowing a child access. There are many graphic pictures and the stories are heart-wrenching. This is for 6th grade and older.


Find all the places mentioned in chapter 2 on a European map. [Copenhagen, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Sweden, Belgium, France] Locate Germany and compare its size to Denmark.


Who are the famous scientists from this time period? What were some of the new discoveries?

Find out more about the powder that was used to deaden the dogs’ sense of smell.


This website is great. The Rationing Challenge encourages problem solving skills. Planning supper was certainly a challenge. This is a UK site.

Discuss these terms- rationing, shortage, supply and demand, black market price.

Select certain common foods to be rationed this week. Plan a week of menus accordingly.

This site contains a war time recipe book, and further explains rationing.[UK] This has a picture of a 5 yo girl’s ration book. [USA]


Use the internet to search for WWII posters or poster propaganda. Study the posters and create one of your own to encourage support of USA or British involvement in the war. Be sure to include a slogan.

You may  [or may not] want to study the way that images of women were used on the posters. Discuss the appropriateness of using female models on the posters. Would this be allowed today? Are there more women in the military now than in WWII? This site has examples of British poster slogans. This site has examples of USA posters.

Discussion Questions

1.   Is a person free if he is constantly monitored? How does privacy relate to freedom?

2.   Why is freedom of the press so important for a society to remain free? Talk about censorship. When is it appropriate? Is it ever appropriate?

3.   In this novel it is important to be “one of the crowd always”. Why?

4.   Papa said that Denmark didn’t fight because of its small size. Read page 15 through the top of page 16. Do you think the king was right to surrender? Do you think large, powerful countries should defend small countries from invasion? Why? Why not?

5.   Annemarie is glad to be ordinary. She believes that ordinary people are not called upon for great works. Is this true? Can you think of some ordinary people in the Bible that were called to do great things? Is anyone “ordinary” to God?

6.   Read the next to the last paragraph on page 35. Think about what has happened in that scene. Why are many US citizens opposed to having their names and private information kept in a data bank? These are some everyday lists most people are on. Can you think of others?

            Social security numbers

            Church membership

            Gun registration

            Medical records

            School records

        Do you think this is good or bad? Is it ever appropriate for the government to keep track of its citizens? Should some people be
        “watched” more than others?

7.   What promise was made by God to Abraham concerning his descendents?

8.   What do you think was the inspiration for the title of this novel? Can you think of another appropriate title?