Haggadah Pesach (Unit 1)

  • 40 minutes
  • Grades: 7-8
  • Lesson Plan

by: Laura Notowitz and Alison Hurwitz of the Milken Community Middle School

This unit was designed to help students learn more about the Haggadah and how to actively participate in the Pesach Seder. The unit uses “A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah” as the central text.


Please note: These lessons were developed as part of the Hartman Institute Tichon Curriculum Consultation program.

The unit includes four lesson plans:

1. Haggadah overview as a lesson plan
2. Different learning styles/the Four Children
3. The Four Questions
4. Questioning Extension/Freedom!

The unit also includes 3 assignments to be shared during Maggid (the second cup of wine) at family Seder:
1. Family exodus story
2. Four children/art
3. Discussion questions on note cards

Lesson objectives

By the end of these lessons, students will be able to:

1.Identify and explain what is and what is not when referring to the Haggadah and questions.
2. Relate to the Haggadah in new ways so they can bring something special to their own seder.
3. Contextualize the seder in text and Jewish history.
4. Synthesize their understanding of the Haggadah by creating their own questions and stories.
5. Recognize that the seder is targeted for all types of learners and generations across time.
6. Internalize that questions, and not merely the answers, are an integral part of the learning process, according to Jewish tradition.

Resources & Equipment needed

  • Game rules for Monopoly
  • Siddur
  • Songbook
  • Storybook
  • Teacher’s guide to textbook
  • Print out the worksheet: What is a Haggadah? (see appendix).


1. Set Induction

a. Teacher tells students, today we’re going to play a game! Bring in game rules from Monopoly. Read rules aloud to class (all students follow along with copies of rules).Then say, OK, wasn’t that fun?!? Did everyone have a good time playing the game? Was that an enjoying/fulfilling/meaningful experience?
b. What if our seder was like that? Is it? Let’s read a section from the Passover Haggadah: p.16 last paragraph in A Different Night (compact edition – red),“The more…” Is reading that sentence telling us the whole story of Passover? Is it more fun to read the directions or play the game?
c. OK, so now what do you think a Haggadah is? (show Haggadot) Begin with the word Haggadah and ask, what is the Haggadah about

Distribute “What is a Haggadah” worksheet.

a. students brainstorm their ideas
b. give an axiom: (BRING IN THESE MATERIALS – siddur, songbook, storybook, teacher’s guide to textbook)
Haggadah is NOT a siddur of prayers Haggadah is NOT the Torah – a book of stories Haggadah is NOT Halacha book Haggadah is NOT a book,
c. So, what is it???
d. Answer = Who leads your seder? (Have them raise their hands and answer)

The Haggadah is an educators guide for the parents so they can pass down the information, but we will help you to lead so that you can eventually lead the seder for your children! To help them to do storytelling! (checklist for brachot, tefillot, etc.)Guidelines for transmitting mitzvah of parent from one generation talking to a child from another generation. **The book of pedagogy **The educational advice that rabbis gave to parents so they could do the act of telling story from one generation to the other.

(Refer back to prompt responses – does your answer change?)

Activity One:

1. If a teacher were to plan a good lesson for you, what elements would it have? Think about your favorite lesson and why it was your favorite.
Anticipated responses: Games, singing, stories, food, interactive, activities, student participation!

That’s exactly what’s in the Haggadah – it’s a master teacher’s lesson plan on the story of Passover. Remember it’s a lesson plan, so for it be effective, it requires interpretation of the text and interaction with the text/asking questions of the text (not just reading – does this sound familiar? – Tanach/Mishna).

[This may be different than what you’ve experienced at your seders where you may just read through the Haggadah.]

2. Students review the table of contents in A Different Night, p.2-3 and make a note of their favorite elements. Where is singing, food, storytelling, etc.? It’s all in there!

3. Review order on p.6 – sing through once (singing the lesson plan – practice singing the agenda on the board). So, the point is to expand on the elements not to sing the agenda! It’s the doing, not the talking about! (Mishna – say little, do much)

4. Since we know that lesson plans always begin with goals/objectives and the Haggadah is meant to be viewed as a lesson plan, what do you think the goals for the Haggadah are?

a. One goal (objective) of the Haggadah is for every person to emotionally identify with the Exodus from Egypt, as it is said, “In every generation, one is obligated to see oneself as one who personally went out of Egypt.” (Mishne Torah, Ch.7 – Rambam) – p.54 in A Different Night
b. PERSONAL EXODUS STORY (to be told during Maggid)
c. Explain the personal exodus story assignment (see appendix). Interview a family member about a difficult experience he/she overcame. Record the story and relate it to the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt (from slavery to freedom). This is a time when change occurred for the better but it was a difficult obstacle to overcome. Examples: job loss, family relationships, divorce, death, stress.


A rubric for “My Family’s Exodus Story” is provided in the homework (see appendix).