Lesson Plan: US History

Date: September 13, 2001

Objectives: The students will

I. discuss the events of September 11, 2001.

II. compare the terrorist attacks to other crises that took place in American history.

III. Identify the roots of the causes of modern terrorism.

IV. Evaluate the government's effectiveness in preventing terrorism in the past and make suggestions for the future.
Warm Up Activity (Anticipatory Set): Expressing Feelings About the Tragedy

A) Have students answer the following statement in their notebooks.

B) Students should respond to the prompt by writing a paragraph or by drawing an illustration.


1) What do you think was the cause of the attacks on New York and Washington, DC?

2) What steps do you think the US should take to prevent terrorism in the future?

3) How can the American public prevent hatred and prejudice against minority groups that might be blamed for the attacks?

4) What is your definition of "justice" regarding the crimes that took place?

5) What steps can we take as a community to help America heal itself and help the nation return to some aspect of "normalcy?"

6) What historical events can we use to help us understand the present and the future that we are all now facing?

7) In what ways is American society and government different from the way it was before the events of September 11, 2001?

8) If the President has declared that "an act of war" has been waged against the United States, what should America's response be?

9) How did the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon make you feel as an American?

10) What acts of courage and bravery did you see come out of the tragedy?

C) Have students create a roundtable within the class.

D) Ask students to share their feelings if they want.

Main Activity (Instructional Input): Presentation: Searching for Peace in the Middle East

A) Have students answer this question orally:

Name one or more historical reasons why the attacks on the US were carried out? What conflicts might people in the world have with the US that would lead them to carry out such acts?

B) Have students share their responses.

C) Display the website entitled Searching for Peace on MSNBC. Have students view "A century of War" under "The Conflicted Middle East."

D) Discuss  geographical, historical, political, and religious nature of the conflict by having students complete the following chart:

Reasons for Conflict In The Middle East

Geographical Historical  Political  Religious

Examples (Modeling): Comparing Historical Events

A) Ask students to compare the events of September 11 with other turning-point events that took place in US History.

B) Some answers may include: 

JFK's assassination (or RFK's, or Martin Luther King's)
Bombing of Pearl Harbor
Challenger Disaster
Attempt on President Reagan's life.

C) Distribute quotations on critical historical events.

D) Have students outline meanings for each and apply them to the September 11 disasters.

Check For Understanding:

A)  Have students write a short paragraph that answers the following question:

1) What steps do you think the US Government to prevent terrorism in the US?

B) Allow students 5minutes to work this questions.


Homework (Independent Practice): Create a Sympathy Card or Poster

A) Have students use computers or art supplies to create a sympathy card for the victims or a poster of hope for the rest of the nation that survived.

B) Students who have submitted signed permission slips can post their card or poster on the Internet.


Wrap-Up Activity (Closure): How Can We Help?

A) Have students suggest one way they can help the situation in New York and Washington.

B) Have students brainstorm a plan for putting their suggestions into effect.

Evaluation: The lesson will be evaluated by:

I. the accuracy of student's written responses;

II. student's scores on future tests and quizzes.

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