This is a lesson plan provided by the National Library of Israel.

What does a fledgling nation need in order to develop a robust economy? What conditions might impede a nation’s growth?  The cities in the Israel of today are almost unrecognizable from the way they looked at the time of the Ottoman Empire. How did Israel manage to thrive and become the “start-up nation” it is today while faced with constant threat from its hostile neighbors, the urgency of absorbing large numbers of new immigrants, and creating an infrastructure from scratch?  In this lesson students will contrast the extraordinary growth of Israel through a “Then and Now” game in which they match photos of the country from the 1800’s with photos of the same places today and will then plan a driving tour of the places they have looked at in the matching activity.  Thought provoking discussion prompts as well as engaging activities such as imagining and creating an image of Israel 50 years from now, can be found in this resource.

The learner will:

  1. understand what values and qualities enable a young nation to overcome its challenges
  2. know the steps that it took to take the land of Israel from a neglected land to the thriving one it is today

be able to identify places in Israel both in older and more modern photographs as well as on a map

About the National Library and its educational materials:

The mission of the National Library of Israel is to provide a home for items of national, historic or cultural significance. Each of these primary sources serve as unique entry points into the collective memory of the people of Israel as well as the Jewish people worldwide.

The education department at the library curates the collection of primary sources and uses them as windows into the past; to foster a deeper understanding of Jewish history, and to enable learners to personalize and connect to earlier events.


When you click on the National Library of Israel resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:


  1. A group activity to open the lesson and engage the learners.
  2. Discussion ideas and/or questions that are designed to get the learners thinking more deeply about the content.
  3. A creative activity that gives students the opportunity to go beyond learning and analyzing, to crafting something new, that personalizes how they relate to the  primary sources featured in the resource.
  4. The primary sources in this resource have individual links (listed in Expand your horizons below) that provide expanded information. In addition there are nuanced discussion questions that will enable students in small groups to engage independently and effectively in the process of  observing, interpreting, and connecting to the primary sources.

    Link to the lesson plan:
    Israel: Then and Now


Student handouts, computer, projector

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