Reading a book is one way to learn historical events, but holding items from that time period makes it more real for students, Grandview Junior High School teacher Megan Gross said.
Her eighth-grade English classes are reading books like “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” and “Night” by Elie Wiesel to study The Holocaust. To give Gross’ students a better grasp of what life was like during that time, her classes looked through a trunk of artifacts and materials from the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
Items in the trunk included novels, picture books and replicas of armbands Jews and other groups of people wore during that time.
Gross said she was looking for something more hands-on that would help her students learn about the Holocaust.
“You apply and have to sign a waiver,” she said. “They send you all of these teachings. They send you a whole curriculum if you choose to use it. It’s resources that you can use.”
After completing their reading assignments, she said her students could look through the trunk. They must wear gloves when handling the items.
“To see them go through these artifacts, I think, will make a big impact on their buy in and for them to understand it,” she said.
GVJHS eighth-grader Faith Kohrman said her grandmother is Jewish, so she can relate to what they went through.
“I thought it was pretty cool because we weren’t just sitting down and reading,” Faith said. “We get to look through all the books and see pictures of [Anne Frank] and different things. The armbands are definitely really cool to me because it has the Star of David and the different colors that mean different groups of people.”
GVJHS eighth-grader Jhett Davis agrees.
“It was very interesting because it’s history,” Jhett said. “It’s interesting to learn what each [armband] meant and how they were separated.”
GVJHS Principal Jeff Hudson said when students hold Holocaust artifacts in their hands, the content of what they’ve read becomes real.
“They realize that these events truly happened,” Hudson said. “The connection students make by actually seeing and touching history is invaluable. Not only will they remember this lesson but they understand how important it is to understand history.
“We must learn lessons from the past so we can be good citizens who display courage and responsibility as we make the world a better place.”
For information, visit dhhrm.org.