September 11 Lesson Plan Teaches Kids to Think Hard About 9/11


The Sept. 11 Education Trust has set up a new September 11 lesson plan for middle- and high school students. The plan, which includes DVDs, Google Earth terrorism mapping, discussion, and archival footage, is intended to help students learn about 9/11 in an interdisciplinary way. Schools in New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and Alabama will participate in the program tomorrow.

To get a peak at exactly what the September 11 lesson plan offers, I visited

Here are some sample discussion questions that teachers might ask students:

* Twenty, fifty, or one hundred years from now how do you think the events of September 11th, 2001 will be understood as part of the larger context of United States history? What about world history? In your opinion, what other events had a similar impact on U.S. or world history?

* How would you explain 9/11 today to someone who was born on September 12, 2001?

* Sally Regenhard laments “the four words no mother should ever hear” when she asks about her son: “I want to know where my son is,” she says. The official responds “He is unaccounted for.” She then reflects “That is something that happens in a war…”

How would you react to being told that someone you loved was “unaccounted for”? Why might it matter to a person’s relatives that the person’s body be accounted for?

Below are more details of what students will see and experience during the September 11 lesson:

The accompanying DVDs contain interviews with family members and survivors of the September 11th attacks. These help to lend a human dimension to a historic event difficult to wholly appreciate in terms of raw numbers of persons killed or property destroyed.

The print lessons build upon the DVD sources as a way of incorporating
these personal stories as students grapple with a range of issues associated with 9/11.

The lessons can be implemented in a single class session or over the course of an entire week. The individual educator has the freedom to decide how much content to include. You can decide how much print or video information to use, creating a flexible mix of content to suit the abilities of students in your classroom.

Some activities include:

Mapping terrorist activities on Google Earth

“Visualizing 9/11” provides a fascinating look into the images that have come to symbolize the event for many

“The Post-9/11 Recovery Process” deals with the challenges of gathering human remains in the aftermath of a tragedy; “Honoring Heroes” raises questions about how to define heroism

“Advocacy” addresses how citizens can shape the government’s response to a disaster.

Teachers or schools need to purchase the lesson plan. A single license costs $99; a 5-user license is $499.

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.