Teacher Resources

TEACHERS' GUIDES: 9/11 Lesson Plans and Activities

This teachers’ guide and resources were developed to assist teachers and educators in sharing information about the events on September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon, in New York City and in Pennsylvania.

As a teacher, you may remember where you were when you heard about the attacks. These events have been a defining moment in our history. But for many students in today’s classrooms, these events are merely part of the historical record.  Younger students may not have even been born, and even those in the upper grades had just started elementary school. As a result, the Pentagon Memorial Fund feels a responsibility to provide information and materials to assist teachers who would like to cover the events of September 11, 2001 in their classroom.

We know that teachers may have difficulty finding relevant material and time to cover this topic in an already full school year.  Thus, the lessons and activities provided will work in a variety of subject areas to encourage use wherever there might be time and space in your planning.

These materials were developed as a companion piece to the documentary, “A Nation Remembers,” which tells the story of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in a 60-minute DVD. 

It is our hope that you will use this teachers’ guide either in its entirety, should you have the time to devote to several concurrent sessions, or individually, where the lessons or activities meet your specific time limitations. We encourage using the materials in observance of the commemoration of September 11th, but we hope you will find that these materials can be used at any point during the year.

The teachers’ guide and resources included target a middle and high school audience (grades 6-12).  You may find that a particular lesson does not meet your exact needs and some modifications are necessary for your classroom.  If you do make specific modifications, use the evaluation form included at the end of these materials to send us information on what you changed and why.  You may also choose to access the elementary-level lessons on our website, though we understand this may be a difficult topic to share with very young students.

All Lesson Plans for Grades 6-12

Chapter One: Life at the Pentagon Before September 11, 2001 (PDF)

This chapter is focused on life as we knew it in the days preceding the September 11th attacks.  Students will learn that although the Pentagon is home to the Department of Defense, there are both military and civilian employees working there. 
This chapter best complements the documentary from 0:00 minutes through 7 minutes, 14 seconds. 

Chapter Two: The Attacks in NYC, the Pentagon and PA (PDF)

This chapter leads students through the events of the day, and asks them to think about al Qaeda and the escalation of terrorism acts in recent years.   The documentary shows the imagery of the attacks, including photos and videos of the sites in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Somerset County, PA.  It also includes several interviews with government officials including:  former President George W.  Bush, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). 

This chapter best complements the documentary from 7 minutes, 15 seconds through 17 minutes, 19 seconds, with the majority of the information about the attacks around 13-minutes. 

Chapter Three: The Emergency Response at the Pentagon (PDF)

This chapter provides students a chance to learn from several first responders who were at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 and asks them to think critically about the lasting effects of rescue and recovery efforts at a disaster site.  In the documentary, there is an interview with Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), images of the Pentagon after the attack and introductions to the victims of Flight 77 and those who died at the Pentagon through a photo montage around 28 minutes.
This chapter best complements the documentary from 17 minutes, 20 seconds through 34 minutes, 58 seconds.

Chapter Four: Honoring the Lives Lost (PDF) 

This chapter is intended to help students understand the idea of memorialization and the importance of remembering certain events and the people affected.  As the whole movie is dedicated to the building of the Pentagon Memorial, this chapter focuses on the design, symbolism, meaning of memorialization and the family members impacted by the events on September 11, 2001.

This chapter best complements the documentary from 45 minutes, 19 seconds through 53 minutes, 39 seconds. For the most comprehensive understanding of the material, please view the documentary from 34 minutes, 59 seconds through 53 minutes, 39 seconds.

Additional video footage is also available to complement these lessons and activities:

The Memorial Dedication  http://www.pentagonmemorial.org/learn/educational-resources/media/video/nation-remembers-memorial-dedication 
- The Reading of Names http://www.pentagonmemorial.org/learn/educational-resources/media/video/nation-remembers-reading-names

Chapter Five: Those Affected at the Pentagon (PDF) 

This chapter is focused on the people affected by the attack at the Pentagon. “A Nation Remembers” provides additional information about the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in this section. The material included in this chapter focuses on the ‘everyday heroes’—people who worked at the Pentagon and helped with the rescue operations, those involved as first responders, and the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the attack.

These materials best complement the documentary from 45 minutes, 19 seconds through 53 minutes, 39 seconds. For the most comprehensive understanding of the material, please view the documentary from 34 minutes, 59 seconds through 53 minutes, 39 seconds.

Chapter Six: September 12 and Beyond: The Nation and the Pentagon Post 9/11 (PDF) 

This chapter focuses on the changes to the Nation and the Pentagon as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks, including the changes to society, the development of the Department of Homeland Security and the differences in travel experiences since September 11, 2001. 

These materials best complement the documentary from 53 minutes, 40 seconds through the end of the film at the 60-minutes. 

 

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