Lesson Plan

Winton’s Children

Watch a video on “upstander” Sir Nicholas Winton and how he saved the lives of children during the Holocaust. Students will learn Winton’s story and be inspired by the man’s reluctance to take credit for his good deeds.

View All Lessons

Enduring Understanding

During the Holocaust we can see numerous accounts of gentiles, or non-Jewish persons, going out of their way to rescue Jews from being taken, harmed, or deported.

Essential Question

  • 1What makes someone an upstander?


5 Min

Write the word “upstander” on the board. Ask the students what they think it means and if they can come up with any examples of being an upstander.


30 Min

Watch the video, produced by CBS 60 Minutes, Sir Nicholas Winton “Saving the Children.” While students are watching the video have them take notes answering the following questions:

  1. How did Winton hear about the trouble the Jews were facing?
  2. What was Winton’s strategy?
  3. What risks did Winton take in order to get the children out of Germany?
  4. Who did he ask for help in looking for places for the children to go? What happened?
  5. What event put an end to Winton’s transport operation?

After the video ends allow students to pair up and discuss the answers they put down. Allow approximately 10 minutes for this sharing.


15 Min

After the video, discuss the following questions as a class:

  1. Why do you think Winton stayed silent for so long about what he had done?
  2. What made him do it in the first place?
  3. How can we be upstanders in our own lives?
  4. Consider the quote by Winton, “If something isn’t blatantly impossible, then there must be a way of doing it.” What does this mean to you?

Collect answers about being an upstander, specifically any answers about what makes people risk their own safety/well-being for the benefit of others. Bring these out in future discussions about bystanders.

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

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