"We had reached either the 51st or the 50th floor when we heard a huge explosion, which shook the building...the lights were flickering on and off. Then the building began to sink. The floor began to lower under my feet...People began screaming and crying"
The intent of this NO PREP lesson is to expose students to a variety of topics in a short amount of time using fun and engaging methods. After completing this lesson, students will understand what happened during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, who was responsible and how America responded.
Students will examine each of the following topics:
1. 9/11 Overview
2. World Trade Center
3. Pentagon Attack
4. Flight 93
5. Rescuers/First Responders
6. America Responds
Each station contains a brief description, along with historic photo sets and primary source accounts of the topic. The lesson is easily adaptable to fit your teaching style. The following methods have proven to be the most successful in my classroom:
1. Hang the information sheets around the class and have students rotate to each sheet.
- This is my favorite because it gets students up and moving. You can assign the worksheet that accompanies this activity, or simply have them summarize each topic as they rotate.
2. Split the students into groups and assign one sheet per group. Have the students read the
information sheet and prepare to present the information to the rest of class.
- I assign a number to each group member (number the first group, then start back at 1 for the next group, so that you have multiple 1’s, 2’s, etc. throughout the class) and after students have had adequate time to prepare I tell them all the 2’s are presenting. This method motivates students because they don’t know which group member is presenting until it is time to present.
3. Form groups of 6 and have the students pass around the information sheets.
- I’ve found the best approach for this method is to give students a set amount of time and then have all students pass their sheets to the right when told.
The versatility of this activity allows for several culminating assessments. Typically, once students have completed one of the methods above, I have them write a journal entry from the point of view of someone at an area of attack on 9/11. I encourage them to use as much information from the passages as possible. Another activity is to explain that the military scrambled jets with the intention of shooting down Flight 93, if necessary, before reaching Washington, D.C. Then, I have them write a response to the following prompt: “Do you believe the government should have used jets to shoot down Flight 93 if it neared Washington, D.C.? Why or why not?” I conduct a debate in which students can defend their choice.