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Activity Overview

Often, we have background knowledge about a subject, or research the subject over the course of time in which we read our books. Historical fictions are books that use a real place and time as the setting of a fictional story. These stories often seem realistic and may be based on real accounts of something that actually happened. It's important for students to have context while they read Number the Stars, and this activity combines research with the novel, as students will have to select important events in the book and research their historical counterparts.

In Number the Stars, the occupation of Denmark by Germany and their intended seizure of all Jewish people really happened. The Danish Resistance Movement was also real. Lowry’s characters, though doing many of the things that Danes did to help Danish Jews, are fictional. They were based on real people, but unlike the account in The Diary of Anne Frank, these characters never actually lived.

The Danish Rescue Effort

Number the Stars

In the book, there are many fishermen who also helped to save the lives of people being hunted by the Nazis. Peter was an active member of the Danish Resistance, and Uncle Henrik was one of the fishermen who sailed people to Sweden for safety.

Real Life

Over 7,200 Jewish citizens of Denmark were saved because of the efforts of the Danish Resistance Movement. Fishermen did smuggle Jewish Danes to Sweden.

Nazi Detainment

Number the Stars

People were collected from the streets and sent to detainment camps, simply for being Jewish.

Real Life

Nazis did hunt and imprison Jews. They segregated people based on religion, gender, and race. Many people the Nazis did not like were sent to prison camps.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard comparing Number the Stars to history.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Select two (or more) historical events from the book.
  3. In the first column, identify those events, along with a quote from the book.
  4. In the second column, describe the event as it happens in Number the Stars.
  5. In the third column, describe the event as it happens in history.
  6. Illustrate each event with appropriate scenes, characters, and items. Alternatively, use Photos for Class for historical images.

Lesson Plan Reference

Switch to: Common CoreArizonaGeorgiaKansas


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Compare and Contrast Texts/Renditions
Create a storyboard that compares the text with one or more texts, versions, or history.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Comparison Analysis
Text and images include a clear explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics. These comparisons go beyond superficial elements and show strong understanding of the story elements.
Text and images include an explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics, but the explanation may lack clarity or show only superficial understanding in some squares.
Text and images may include no explanation of similarities and/or differences, or they may make only superficial or inaccurate comparisons.
Textual Explanation
The text clearly and accurately describes all the scenes and concepts depicted.
The text clearly and accurately describes most of the scenes and concepts depicted.
The text fails to describe most of the scenes clearly and accurately.
Storyboard Image and Effort
Student clearly shows effort to convey the setting, characters and specific scene of the book. The scene is clearly identifiable based on the graphic depiction.
Student attempts to convey the setting, characters, and specific scene through use of graphics, but the depiction may be confusing, disordered, or lack some detail.
Student does not clearly convey the setting, characters, and scene.
Spelling and Grammar
Student uses exemplary spelling and grammar. There are no errors.
Student makes one or two minor errors in spelling and grammar.
Student makes multiple errors in spelling and grammar.

Image Attributions
  • Copenhagen • Moyan_Brenn • License Attribution (
  • No Escape • c@rljones • License Attribution, Non Commercial (
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