Holocaust Museum Houston

Lesson Plan: The Butterfly Project

Friday, Apr. 3, 2020 – Friday, May. 1, 2020



More than 12,000 children under the age of 15 passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp (also known by its German name of Theresienstadt) between the years 1942 and 1944. Of these, more than 90 percent perished during the Holocaust. During the completion of this project, students will learn about the experience of young children during the Holocaust through a study of the poems and pictures drawn by those imprisoned in Theresienstadt. They will create handmade butterflies to represent the children who were imprisoned. These butterflies are displayed in the classroom.

This set of activities should demonstrate to children that very few children survived in Terezin. By the end of the lesson, the butterflies that have been hung in the classroom with such beauty and hope are cut down for no significant reason. The butterflies that survived the cutting are usually not the most beautiful, biggest nor the brightest. Just like the children of Terezin, death of the children was random. The most beautiful did not necessarily live, nor did the biggest.

Make sure your students understand that many dreams died with the children of Terezin, dreams just like their own. Point out that one of the children (butterfly) could have been an athlete or entertainer that they look up to. One could have been the person that cured AIDS.

This lesson plan was originally conceived by Mary Kay Porter, an advanced placement English Teacher; Cyndy Elliot, a speech and drama teacher; and Susan Myers, former executive director of Holocaust Museum Houston. It was edited by the Museum’s Education Department staff in April 2009 and July 2012.


 “The Butterfly” by Pavel Friedmann [PDF]

The Butterfly Project Coloring Sheets [PDF]


  • Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Sunday, noon - 5:00 pm
    The Museum is closed Mondays, except for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day.
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    The Museum is free to all on Thursdays from 2 pm to 5 pm

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    Admission is free on the following holidays:

    • Veteran’s Day for active duty military and veterans
    • Human Rights Day
    • International Holocaust Remembrance Day
    • Yom HaShoah
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    The Museum is closed on the following holidays:

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Directions & Parking

  • Paid Parking
  • Paid parking is available in the parking lot next to the Museum on the corner of Binz and Caroline St.


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