In the fall of 2001, many classes were consumed with discussions about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, as students, teachers, and most Americans were trying to recover from the emotional toll of the events. Eight years later, many textbooks used across the country do not have comprehensive coverage of the 2001 attacks on New York City, the Pentagon, and Flight 93, which crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. But the September 11th Education Trust, founded by a group representing survivors and families of the victims of the World Trade Center destruction, has been working for years to develop lessons to ensure that schoolchildren learn about them.
The group unveiled the resulting program on its Teaching 9/11 Web site to coincide with this year’s anniversary. The site includes multimedia lessons, video interviews, and an online forum where educators can discuss instructional strategies.
“The September 11th Education Program: A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum” features oral histories and primary documents that “teach about understanding 9/11 as history, debating the government’s role during disasters, discussing the nature of heroism, evaluating foreign policy vis-à-vis national security, and clarifying how informed citizens can take beneficial action,” according to the trust.
The seven units include technology features such as an interactive timeline and visual exploration of Ground Zero in New York City using Google Earth.
When I was writing about the influence of the attacks on curriculum and instruction at the time (see here, here, and here), teachers and administrators were struggling with how to engage students in discussions about Sept. 11 and the complex issues of domestic and foreign policy that were being fiercely debated.
I’ve lost track of just how much material and support are available to classroom teachers on the topic, but I’m sure many teachers are still seeking out guidance on 9/11-related instruction.
(Photo: The World Trade Center flag is folded after being presented as friends and relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks gather at Zuccotti Park, adjacent to ground zero, on the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. CREDIT: Jason DeCrow/AP)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.