Teaching Tough Topics: September 11th
In the years since planes flew into the Twin Towers in New York, the landscape of our country and our world has changed greatly. The difference in the time and number of actions required to enter the airport and board a plane alone are significant changes for our society. There is also a heightened awareness of and caution around the issue of terrorism, a word that I didn’t even know – or certainly fully understand – until the attacks on September 11, 2001.
The historical differences and significance of the atrocious attack on our own soil can be hard to impress upon students. K-12 students now weren’t even alive when the attacks occurred. Of course, it’s not a topic appropriate to discuss with every age child either.
For those students who are old enough to hear about it, we have gathered some resources to help with talking points and answering tough questions.
In these video clips, students will hear Major League Baseball professionals and fans describe the after-effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including how the attacks altered the league and fans’ relationships with New York City teams particularly. Students will view the clips and participate in class discussions using the prompts provided.
Hear what visitors to the National September 11 Memorial have to say about their experience with the structure, and see some of the features they describe. After years of planning and construction, the 9/11 Memorial opened to the public on September 12, 2011. In this short video from NOVA Online, visitors describe the memorial as dignified, beautiful, and like the pyramids.
The layout of the biggest office building in the world, the Pentagon, is described. A graphic illustrating the five wedges and five rings is seen. On the morning of September 11th, some people inside the Pentagon figured out an attack was underway.
In this lesson, students discuss multiculturalism and the ways in which they celebrate diversity. Students view the photo essay in pairs or small groups and are given reflective writing prompts for students to demonstrate their understanding of the story.
Use this blog full of resources on exploring the events of 9/11 and the consequences through the lens of tolerance and cultural understanding.
Show students how the events of September 11, 2001, played out using these two interactive timelines that chronicle both the attacks and the Ground Zero recovery. Note: Both timelines incorporate videos and images from the attacks, so please view them first before sharing them with students who may be upset by the content.
The attacks of 9/11 changed a lot of things in the U.S. and immigration policy is no exception. In this clip from Homeland: Immigration in America, an immigration attorney explains that prior to 9/11, anybody could send a visa application through the mail and get approved with forged documents. Today, however, the process is much more closely supervised, with visa applicants required to appear for an in-person interview prior to receiving their visa and coming into to the United States.
On September 11th, 2001, people were trapped inside the Pentagon, unable to get through blast-proof windows. Hear the stories of some of the survivors.
This segment from the PBS series Finding Your Roots provides a look at Muslim stereotypes and anti-Muslim sentiments following the terrorist attacks of September 11. Sheik Yasir Qadhi reflects on his personal experiences with anti-Muslim feelings and the injustice of stereotypes.