How To Teach Your Class About Passover

Written by Dan

Are you a teacher preparing to introduce your class to Passover? Or perhaps you’re a parent looking to instil cultural awareness and understanding in your child’s mind? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is one of the most significant holidays in the Jewish calendar.

It commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt . But how can we make such an ancient story relatable and engaging for today’s young minds?

We understand this can be a challenging task. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on teaching your class about Passover .

We’ll break down the key elements of this historical event, provide engaging teaching materials and activities, and offer tips on addressing questions and fostering a respectful learning environment.

what is passover

Understanding Passover

What exactly is Passover? For those unfamiliar, Passover is a crucial celebration within the Jewish faith. According to the Jewish calendar, it is a week-long festival that typically falls in the spring, specifically between March and April.

Why is it significant in the Jewish calendar, you might ask? Well, Passover commemorates a pivotal moment in Jewish history—the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This event is narrated in the Book of Exodus in the Bible and serves as a testament to freedom and divine intervention.

Now, let’s delve into the historical context of Passover. The story traces back thousands of years when Egyptian Pharaohs enslaved the Israelites. Their freedom was secured through miraculous events, including the Ten Plagues inflicted on Egypt.

The term ‘Passover’ itself originates from the final plague—the death of the firstborn—where God “passed over” the houses of the Israelites, sparing their children.

Understanding these fundamental aspects of Passover will enable us to appreciate its profound cultural and religious significance, setting the stage for a more engaging and respectful learning process.


Key Elements of Passover: A Detailed Breakdown

As we delve deeper into the essence of Passover, it’s crucial to grasp the key elements that form the backbone of this historical narrative. These elements provide a structure to the story and impart profound lessons and symbolism that resonate with the core values of the Jewish faith.


1. The Israelites in Egypt:

The Passover story begins with the Israelites living in Egypt. Initially welcomed due to Joseph’s high-ranking position in Pharaoh’s court, the Israelites multiplied over generations.

However, as power dynamics shifted, they were enslaved by a new Pharaoh who felt threatened by their growing numbers. This period of enslavement was marked by hardship and suffering, setting the stage for the divine intervention that was to come.

2. Moses and Pharaoh:

Enter Moses, a figure of paramount importance in the Jewish faith. Raised as an Egyptian prince but later revealed as an Israelite by birth, Moses was chosen by God to lead his people to freedom.

His confrontations with Pharaoh form a gripping part of the narrative, showcasing themes of courage, faith, and determination against towering odds.

3. The Ten Plagues:

When Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites, God inflicted Egypt with ten devastating plagues, each more destructive than the last. These ranged from turning the Nile River into blood, infestations of frogs and locusts, to darkness and disease.

Each plague served as a divine sign, demonstrating God’s power and the consequences of defying His will.

4. The Exodus:

The climax of the Passover story is the Exodus. After the tenth plague—the death of all firstborns in Egypt, excluding the Israelites’ homes marked by lamb’s blood—Pharaoh finally capitulates.

In haste and fear of further wrath, the Israelites leave Egypt, marking the end of their enslavement and the beginning of their journey to the promised land.

These key elements, filled with drama, miracles, and profound lessons, form the heart of the Passover story.

Understanding them enriches our comprehension of Passover’s significance, providing us with the necessary context to teach this vital tradition respectfully and effectively.

Teaching Materials and Activities

How can we ensure the material is engaging, enriching, and memorable for our students when teaching about Passover? The answer lies in leveraging various teaching resources and activities that cater to different learning styles. Let’s explore some of these resources:

1. Books and Stories:

There’s no denying the power of a well-told story. Numerous children’s books narrate the Passover story in an accessible and engaging way. These can serve as excellent starting points, allowing learners to understand the narrative structure and critical events of Passover.

2. Videos and Documentaries:

Visual aids can be instrumental in bringing the Passover story to life. Educational videos or documentaries provide a dynamic and interactive platform for learners to visualize the historical context, characters, and significant events of Passover, thereby enhancing their understanding and retention.

3. Interactive Online Resources:

In our digital age, online resources offer a wealth of interactive learning opportunities. From animated retellings of the Passover story to interactive quizzes and games, these resources can make learning fun, engaging and tailored to the pace of individual learners.

Now that we’ve covered some resource options, let’s dive into hands-on activities that can further immerse learners in the Passover experience:

4. Crafts Related to Passover:

Crafts offer a creative and tactile way to explore the Passover story. Consider activities such as making a model of the pyramids, creating a Ten Plagues flipbook, or designing a Seder plate.

These crafts not only reinforce the key elements of the Passover story but also allow learners to express their understanding creatively.

5. Cooking Traditional Passover Food:

Food is a central part of Passover, each dish steeped in symbolism. Why not bring the classroom into the kitchen? Preparing traditional Passover food like Matzah or Charoset can provide a delicious and practical way to learn about the customs and traditions associated with this festival.

6. Role-playing the Passover Story:

Role-playing is an excellent method for experiential learning. By reenacting the Passover story, learners can empathize with the characters, understand their motivations, and remember the story more vividly.

Addressing Questions and Fostering Respect:

Creating a learning environment that encourages questions and fosters respect is paramount in teaching about cultural and religious traditions such as Passover. But how do we effectively facilitate this? Here are some tips and strategies:

1. Handling Students’ Questions:

Questions are at the heart of learning, signalling curiosity and engagement. When addressing students’ questions, being open, patient, and responsive is essential.

If a question falls outside your knowledge base, don’t shy away from saying, “I’m not sure, but let’s find out together.” This approach models honesty and humility and turns the situation into a collective learning opportunity.

2. Fostering a Respectful Learning Environment:

Respect is the cornerstone of any educational setting, particularly when exploring diverse cultures and religions. Please encourage students to appreciate the differences and similarities among cultures, emphasising that every tradition has its own unique value and significance.

Promote respectful language and behaviour, reminding students that everyone’s beliefs and practices should be treated with dignity and understanding.

3. Promoting Understanding and Respect for Different Cultures:

Cultural sensitivity can be nurtured through various strategies. Introduce students to various cultural practices and perspectives through stories, videos, guest speakers, and field trips.

Incorporate inclusive teaching materials that represent diverse voices and experiences. Foster critical thinking by engaging students in discussions about stereotypes, biases, and the importance of cultural respect.


As we draw this guide to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on our journey thus far.

We’ve delved deep into the heart of the Passover tradition, unravelled its essential elements, and explored many engaging teaching materials and activities.

More importantly, we’ve discovered how to foster an inclusive learning environment encourages curiosity and respect.

The story of Passover, filled with rich themes of liberation, faith, and divine intervention, is not only a cornerstone of Jewish tradition but also offers universal lessons that echo across cultures and communities.

As educators, our mission is to share these lessons and illuminate them in ways that captivate our students’ interests and imaginations.

However, teaching about Passover extends beyond a mere historical or religious lesson. It affords us a golden opportunity to instil in our students a profound appreciation for cultural diversity and a deep respect for varied beliefs.

Whether using books, documentaries, crafts, or role-playing, each teaching tool is a stepping stone towards this grand goal.

Moreover, the tradition of Passover itself underscores the vital role of education. The Seder, a centrepiece of the Passover celebration, is an educational session where stories and wisdom are passed down from generation to generation.

This highlights education’s integral part in preserving cultural heritage and shaping our collective future.

So, as we conclude, let’s remember that teaching about Passover is part of our broader commitment to exploring different cultures with our students.

Each culture, each tradition, and each story we delve into enriches our understanding of the world and equips us to foster a more inclusive, respectful, and compassionate classroom.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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