What Happened on 9/11?, Part II
- Grades 6 to 12
- One to two class periods
- Theme: Events of 9/11
Essential Question: What happened on 9/11?
Students will assess their prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
Students will be introduced to a timeline of key events from the morning of 9/11.
Students will investigate a variety of primary source materials related to the 9/11 attacks.
Students will understand how first-person accounts and multiple perspectives deepen historical study.
Advocacy: This is when a person or group of people pushes for the support of a specific cause or policy.
Change of tours: This is the time of day when one group of firefighters finishes a shift at the firehouse and prepares to go home, while a new group of firefighters arrives to begin working. Firefighters sometimes refer to their work shifts as tours.
Dean Witter Reynolds: This large financial firm had offices at the World Trade Center.
Equities trader: This is someone who buys and sells stocks through one of the major stock exchanges.
Ground Zero: The World Trade Center site and surrounding area were called this after the collapse of the Twin Towers. The area was filled with 1.8 million tons of debris.
Sky Lobby: This was a transfer area located on the 44th and 78th floors in the North and South Towers. It allowed workers in the building to switch between express and local elevators.
StuyHealth: This advocacy group and health program represents young adults who were affected by 9/11 and the clean-up at the site.
Stuyvesant High School: This high school is located a few blocks away from the World Trade Center.
1. Tell students that they will use first-person accounts to investigate the experiences of different groups of people on 9/11.
2. Divide students into five groups and provide each with a computer or tablet. Tell students that each group will listen to a different first-person account that showcases a member of a specific community. If you do not have access to individual computers, select three to four narratives to listen to as a class, stopping after each narrative to debrief using the guiding questions included in step four.
3. Assign each group a community to focus on and have them watch or listen to the appropriate associated first-person narrative based on the list below:
First responders: Bill Spade, retired FDNY firefighter
Video: First Responder: Bill Spade, retired FDNY firefighter
High school students: Lila Nordstrom, Stuyvesant High School
Video: High School Student: Lila Nordstrom, Stuyvesant High School
WTC survivors: Lolita Jackson, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter employee
Video: WTC survivor: Lolita Jackson, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter employee
9/11 family members: Alison Crowther, mother of 9/11 victim Welles Crowther
Video: 9/11 family member: Alison Crowther, mother of 9/1
Government officials: Matt Higgins, former press secretary for the New York City Mayor’s Office
Matt Higgins Oral History
4. Tell students that as they listen, they should collect information to help answer the following questions (Note: Each speaker will share different amounts of information in each category. Some may not address every category.):
- What is the speaker’s name?
- Where was the speaker on 9/11? What were they doing?
- Did they face any obstacles or challenges that day?
- How did they respond to 9/11, both immediately and over time?
5. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for students to listen to their source and discuss with their peers.
6. Gather the class and instruct each group to introduce their speaker by sharing the information they collected.
7. Return to the list of questions you made at the beginning of the first lesson and ask students to add additional things they learned about 9/11 after listening to first-person accounts.
8. Conclude by asking students if hearing first-person accounts from so many different types of people changed the way they think about 9/11. If yes, how? If not, why?
Note: Included below are additional narratives you can incorporate into the lesson in addition to or in place of those listed above:
Muslim-Americans: Haroon Moghul, author and former student leader of the NYU Islamic Center
Video: Muslim-American: Haroon Moghul, author and former student leader of the NYU Islamic Center
Educators: Ada Dolch, former principal of Leadership and Public Service High School
Video: Educator: Ada Dolch, former principal of Leadership and Public Service High School
First responders: Scott Strauss, retired NYPD detective
Video: First responder: Scott Strauss, retired NYPD detective
Reporters: Kristen Shaughnessey, NY1 anchor
Reporters: Maggie Haberman, New York Times correspondent and CNN analyst
Reporters: Deepti Hajella, Associated Press
WTC survivors: Tom Canavan, former securities specialist for Unity Bank
Video: WTC survivor Tom Canavan, former securities specialist for Unity Bank
What Happened on 9/11?, Part I
Essential Question: What happened on 9/11?