Lesson Plan

Defining Races

Explore the creation of the Nuremberg Race Laws and what the significance of their implementation into society meant for the future of Jews in Germany.

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Nazi Germany

Enduring Understanding

The Nuremberg Race Laws aimed to define race and provide the framework for the systematic persecution of Jews in Germany.

Essential Question

  • 1How are cultures defined?


5 Min

Explain to students that the Nuremberg Laws were the first official step in systematic persecution of Jews in Germany. Creating this definition was not an easy task, it took years for German officials to agree on what being Jewish meant. This initial step in identifying and separating Jews from society was essential to carry out the persecution that followed.


15 Min

Take the students through the resource, Nuremberg Race Laws by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. With a partner, ask the students to go through the resource and take notes using the 3Ps method, jotting down what they find a) Profound b) Puzzling and c) Propelling.

In order to familiarize yourself, and your class with this model, please look over this guide: 3Ps: A Critical Reading Guide.


30 Min

Have the pairs partner up with another group to form groups of four. As they gather in these groups, provide them with the following instructions:

  1. Go over what you and your partner took notes on as part of their 3Ps. Perhaps the new pair can clear up your puzzling section, if not be sure to ask the teacher to go over it.
  2. Discuss the three critical thinking questions located at the bottom of the resource.
  3. Come up with your own thought-provoking question with your group. The question should attempt to take what we learned from this lesson on the Nuremberg Laws and relate it to something in the present day.

Give students 20 minutes to complete these tasks and use the last 10 minutes to hear what the groups came up with for their questions.

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

Before you teach, use our teacher primer to freshen up on your content knowledge.