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Elementary School Lesson Plans

Lesson E-UI-L1: Chrysanthemum: The Power of Words

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: K-5
Time: 30 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, students explore the power and the lasting impact of hurtful words. (Grades K–5)

Lesson E-UI-L2: The Beauty of Colors

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: K-5
Time: 60–120 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the book The Colors of the Rainbow by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, students examine how differences enrich our lives as well as look at the things we share in common. (Grades K–5)

Lesson E-UI-L3: Heroes in Our Everyday Lives

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: K-1
Time: 45–60+ minutes
Synopsis:

Students use music (the song “Hero”) to explore and understand the meaning and characteristics of a hero and recognize heroes in their communities. (Grades K–1)

Lesson E-UI-L4: A Brave Hero

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: K–3
Time: 45–60 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the book New York’s Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne about a fireman, students develop an understanding of heroes in everyday life and the difference between a celebrity and a hero. (Grades K–3)

Lesson E-UII-L1: Responding to Hurtful Words

Unit II: Violence, Aggression, and Terrorism
Grade Levels: K–5
Time: 30+ minutes
Synopsis:

Students analyze words that hurt, the damage they cause, and ways to respond. (Grades K–5)

Lesson E-UII-L2: Making Choices: Bystander, Perpetrator, Victim, Upstander

Unit II: Violence, Aggression, and Terrorism
Grade Levels: 3-5
Time: 60 minues
Synopsis:

Using the book The Terrible Things by Eve Bunting, students discuss difficult situations and the power of an individual to make a difference. (Grades 3–5)

Lesson E-UIII-L1: Walls

Unit III: Historical Context of Terrorism
Grade Levels: 3–5
Time: 120 minutes
Synopsis:

Students use online resources to research the walls mentioned in book Talking Walls by Margy Burns Knight. They identify the countries where the walls are and the characteristics of the people and the culture in those countries. Students also compare and contrast the purpose of walls. (Grades 3–5)  

Lesson E-UIV-L1: A Fireboat and Its Heroic Adventures

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 3–5
Time: 45–60 minutes
Synopsis:

Students read the book Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman and discuss the boat’s history and the heroism of its crews and actions. Students explore the concept of a hero and demonstrate an understanding that everyone has the potential to be a hero. (Grades 3–5)

Lesson E-UIV-L2: A Poem About St. Paul’s Chapel

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 3–5
Time: 30–45 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the books The Little Engine That Could and The Little Chapel That Stood, students examine characteristics that determine courage beyond size. Students also explore what St.Paul’s Chapel represented to the people of New York City before and after 9/11, and identify the support structures or networks in their own lives. (Grades 3–5)

Lesson E-UV-L1: September Roses

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: K–3
Time: 30 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the book September Roses by Jeannette Winter, students examine acts of kindness and goodness in New York City on September 11, 2001 that reached across nationalities, including Americans and visitors. (Grades K–3)

Lesson E-UV-L2: September 12th

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: 1-3
Time: 60 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the book September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right, students examine feelings of security and safety following September 11th in 2001. They explain how and why they feel safe and secure living in America. (Grades 1–3)

Lesson E-UV-L3: There’s A Big Beautiful World Out There

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: K-2
Time: 30 Minutes
Synopsis:

Using the book There’s A Big, Beautiful World Out There by Nancy L. Carlson, students connect their own fears with fears found in the book and explore ways to overcome fears. (Grades K–2)

Lesson E-UVI-L1: Artifacts in St. Paul’s Chapel

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 4-5
Time: 45-60 minutes
Synopsis:

Using images from the St. Paul’s Artifact Archive web site, students write or talk about what artifacts can tell us, and the feelings they create. (Grades 4–5)

Lesson E-UVI-L2: The Survivor Tree

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 3-5
Time: 30–60 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the story of the 9/11 Survivor Tree, students explore living plants and trees as symbols of memory and remembrance, and the revival of plant life as symbols of hope and renewal. (Grades 3–5)

Lesson E-UVII-L1: National Day of Service: Serving our Town, Country, and World

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: K-5
Time: 30–45+ minutes (plus time required for a service project)
Synopsis:

Students learn about the September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance initiative, develop appropriate service ideas, and follow through on one or more service activities. (Grades K–5)

Lesson E-UVII-L2: Peace Poems

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: 4-5
Time: 30-60 minutes
Synopsis:

Students interpret the poem “For Our World” by Mattie Stepanek and look for suggestions of peace for the future. Then they write a peace poem or a poem expressing their own ideas for future. (Grades 4–5)

Lesson E-UVII-L3: Universal Declaration of Human Rights: How Can We Put It Into Action?

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: K-5
Time: 30 minutes
Synopsis:

Students read the children’s edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and identify the rights and why each is important. Then they brainstorm for ideas of how to make it possible for the rights of every person to be honored. (Grades K–5)

Middle School Lesson Plans

Lesson M-UI-L1: An American Moment

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: 6-8
Time: 40-80 minutes
Synopsis:

Using a quote from Pastor Rick Warren’s invocation at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the students analyze cultures, subcultures, etc., that make up the United States. They also explore the concepts of respect vs. prejudice. (Grades 6–8)

Lesson M-UI-L2: Another View of an American Moment

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: 6-8
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Using a scene from the film Forrest Gump and/or photographs from sit-ins and protests, students analyze segregation and prejudice in U.S. history and the influence one person can have on events. (Grades 6–8)

Lesson M-UI-L3: Natural vs. Human-Made Disasters

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: 5-8
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Students view photographs and research facts about natural and human-made disasters and analyze the results and the influence of nature and man on the catastrophes. (Grades 5–8)

Lesson M-UI-L4: The Pyramid of Hate

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: 6-8
Time: 40-120 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the Pyramid of Hate, students examine examples of stereotyping, scapegoating, prejudice, etc., and become aware of the power of the individual to intervene in the escalation of discrimination and hate. (Grades 6–8)

Lesson M-UII-L1: What Is Terrorism?

Unit II: Violence, Aggression, and Terrorism
Grade Levels: 7-8
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Students examine different definitions of terrorism and construct their own definition of terrorism. Then they analyze several cases and determine if the acts were terrorism. (Grades 7–8)

Lesson M-UIII-L1: Terrorism: Government Sponsored?

Unit III: Historical Context of Terrorism
Grade Levels: 7+
Time: 45 Minutes+
Synopsis:

Using informational handouts and photographs, students investigate three types of terrorism: governmental terrorism, government sponsorship of terrorism, non-governmental sponsored terrorism. Additional activities also explore the use of children in terrorism. (Grades 7+)

Lesson M-UIII-L2: Surprising Klansmen

Unit III: Historical Context of Terrorism
Grade Levels: 6-8
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Students examine the history of the Ku Klux Klan and information about two surprising members of the KKK and the prejudices they exhibited. (Grades 6–8)

Lesson M-UIV-L1: A Moment in Time: Part I

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 7-8
Time: 90 Minutes
Synopsis:

Students discuss the sequence of events occurring before, during, and after 9/11/01. They explore a timeline of events and then create and present their own timelines. Students also interview an older family member or friend to explore how 9/11 affected individuals in America. (Grades 7–8)

Lesson M-UIV-L2: A Moment in Time, Part II

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 7-8
Time: Two 45-minute class periods (Allow at least a week between the class periods to provide time for students to prepare interviews)
Synopsis:

Students read and discuss testimonies from people with various experiences related to the events on September 11, 2001, and then create presentations based on an interview with a person who has a recollection of that day. (Grades 7–8)

Lesson M-UIV-L3: Looking Back: What Happened Before September 11

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 7-8
Time: 90-120 minutes
Synopsis:

Students use timelines and other information to recognize that September 11th was not an isolated event and understand the chain of events that led to the formation of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s role in terror attacks. (Grades 7–8)

Lesson M-UV-L1: Civil Rights in the Age of Terrorism

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: 7-8
Time: 80 minutes
Synopsis:

Students identify American civil rights found in the Constitution, examine the purpose of the Patriot Act, and discuss the question of security versus rights. They also analyze case studies and discuss the impact of terrorism on rights in a student assignment. (Grades 7–8)

Lesson M-UV-L2: The 9/11 Commission

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: 7–8
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Using online resources including video, students work in groups to examine recommendations of final report from the 9/11 Commission, describe the findings, and report on the responses of the government and individuals to the final report. (Grades 7–8)

Lesson M-UVI-L1: A Random Act of Kindness

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 7+
Time: 45 minutes
Synopsis:

In order to begin to understand shared grief and empathy after a national tragedy, students discuss a photograph and newspaper story; analyze connections between strangers during times of tragedy and how tragedy can unite people; and explore other tragedies in history or in their community or state. (Grades 7+)

Lesson M-UVI-L2: Remembrance and Memory as Seen Through the Eyes of Artists

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 6–8
Time: 90+ minutes
Synopsis:

By examining Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica and images from the book The Day Our World Changed: Children’s Art of 9/11 by Robin F. Goodman, students demonstrate an ability to comprehend the use of art by children and adults to express emotions and viewpoints and to preserve memory. (Grades 6–8)

Lesson M-UVI-L3: The Boss and the New Jersey Connection

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 8+
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Students analyze selections from Bruce Springsteen’s album The Rising for imagery of 9/11 and after. They discuss music as an instrument to express emotions, beliefs, values, etc., and conceptualize how music can memorialize people lost through tragedy. (Grades 8+)

Lesson M-UVI-L4: Using Music to Remember and Memorialize

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 6–8
Time: 80 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the songs “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen, “United We’ll Stand” by Patricia Welch, and “Imagine” by John Lennon, students learn how music expresses a variety of feelings from sorrow to hope; how music can help heal in a time of tragedy; and about the value of music as a means of remembering and memorializing. (Grades 6–8)

Lesson M-UVII-L1: Why Does Tragedy Bring Us Together?

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: 6–8
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Using the book The Day Our World Changed: Children’s Art of 9/11 by Robin F. Goodman, students explore the story of a relationship that developed between a young girl and a fireman after 9/11 and how each came to view the other as a hero. Students examine how others can give us strength and how a tragedy can bring people together. (Grades 6–8)

Lesson M-UVII-L2: The Upstander

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: 6–8
Time: 40 minutes
Synopsis:

Students define their roles in society and how they can be more of an upstander and less of a bystander. They research people in their community or state who acted to effect change, and examine the attitudes and values of those willing to help others, even at their own risk at times. (Grade 6–8)

Lesson M-UVII-L3: You Can Do It, Yes You Can!

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: 6–8
Time: 90 minutes (plus time for a community project)
Synopsis:

After reading a news article and viewing a video about the Paramus, New Jersey, Freedom Walk and the sixth-grader who initiated the idea, students brainstorm and plan what they could do to memorialize 9/11 as an individual, class, or school. (Grades 6–8)

High School Lesson Plans

Lesson H-UI-L1: The Individual: Identifying with Groups

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 120-150 minutes
Synopsis:

Students recognize how their identities are linked to different communities, examine how assumptions can lead to faulty reasoning, and explore how their prejudices can affect others. Students also develop an understanding of the Universe of Obligation and apply it to their own lives. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UI-L2: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 60-90 minutes
Synopsis:

Students explore the five levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and identify the importance of satisfying the needs in pursuit of human development and growth. The lesson includes a study guide and student assignment. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UI-L3: The Allure of Terrorism

Unit I: Human Behavior
Grade Levels: 10-12
Time: 80-100 minutes
Synopsis:

Using online resources and a student assignment and worksheet, students investigate the relationship between the human environment and individuals who become terrorists. (Grades 10–12)

Lesson H-UII-L1: Who is a Terrorist?

Unit II: Violence, Aggression, and Terrorism
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 60 minutes+
Synopsis:

Students explore the influence of stereotyping and prejudice in identifying people as terrorists. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UII-L2: Defining Terrorism

Unit II: Violence, Aggression, and Terrorism
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 160 Minutes (a minimum of four 40 minute lesson modules: 2 block schedule periods (80 minutes) or four standard instructional periods (40 minutes))
Synopsis:

Using academic resources, study guides, and a student worksheet, students review multiple definitions of terrorism and identify acts of terrorism according to those definitions. They also examine how terrorist acts do or do not constitute violations of international law, and how perpetrators of such terrorist acts should be addressed within the judicial system. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UIII-L1: An Act of Terror: The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduchess Sophie

Unit III: Historical Context of Terrorism
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 45-60 minutes
Synopsis:

Based on a reading about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduchess Sophie and information about the political situation in Europe at that time, students analyze and evaluate the Black Hand to determine if it was a terrorist group using accepted definitions of terrorism. Students also explore the impact of this single act and the ethical, moral, and legal questions of justifying assassination. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UIII-L2: The Olympics: Terror at Munich

Unit III: Historical Context of Terrorism
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 150 minutes
Synopsis:

Students watch the film 21 Hours at Munich and read about the attacks on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, the group that carried out the attack and murders, and the response of various governments, organizations, and the people worldwide. They identify the organization claiming responsibility for the attack, the attitude of the attackers, the actions of governments that followed the attack, and the short and long-range impact of the actions. Students also apply a modern definition of terrorism to the actions of the group and the parent organization, analyze their actions and claims, and explain the eventual outcome and results of the attack. Finally, students investigate the Centennial Olympic bombing at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UIII-L3: Sarin Nerve Agent Attacks: Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction

Unit III: Historical Context of Terrorism
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 45–60 minutes
Synopsis:

Students learn about the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo, Japan Metro in 1995 by the Aum Shinrikyo. They explore and answer critical thinking questions about the fear caused by use of chemical weapons, the motivations of the Aum Shinrikyo, the government responses and the reactions of the public, and the long-term effect on the victims (physical, emotional, and psychological). Students also study the status of the Aum Shinrikyo organization today and the international laws and treaties governing production of chemical, nerve, and biological agents. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UIII-L4: Hate Groups Across the United States

Unit III: Historical Context of Terrorism
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 90 minutes
Synopsis:

Students make the connection between the concept of hatred and the violence associated with present-day hate groups. They study of the numbers and size of hate groups and “patriot” groups and their locations, motivations, actions, targets, and goals. Students also study the dangers such groups represent to people, government, institutions, etc., in the United States. Finally, students examine the differences and similarities between hate groups, bullies, and terrorists. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UIV-L1: The Road to 9/11

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 10-12
Time: 100-190 minutes
Synopsis:

By viewing the film The Road to 9/11: A Brief History of Conflict in the Middle East, students study the individuals, groups, actions, reactions, and historical events that precipitated the attack on the United States on 9/11. (Grades 10–12)

Lesson H-UIV-L2: Interviews and Personal Stories

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 9-12
Time: 80–160 minutes
Synopsis:

Students interview a survivor, emergency care worker, first responder, etc., or search the Internet for personal stories from 9/11. They conduct interviews and share the story with the class. Students develop an understanding of interview skills and the importance of primary sources in recording history. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UIV-L3: Challenges in Enhancing Media Literacy Regarding Global Terrorism

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 240 minutes
Synopsis:

Students identify definitions for "media literacy" and practice selected skills necessary for the critical analysis and evaluation of mass media content related to global terrorism. They apply skills to analyzing media related to the Iraq War using criteria developed in the lesson. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UIV-L4: Pictures of 9/11

Unit IV: 9/11
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 200 minutes
Synopsis:

Students view, organize, research, and provide captions for pictures of the events of 9/11. They arrange the photographs into a timeline of events on 9/11, give faces to the events, and develop a picture essay of the day. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UV-L1: Reactions to and from the Muslim and Arab Communities After 9/11

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 120–150 minutes
Synopsis:

Using online resources and a student assignment worksheet, students assess the validity of accusations and acts of violence against the Muslim and Arab communities following the events of 9/11. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UV-L2: Security vs. Civil Liberties After 9/11

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 45–60 minutes
Synopsis:

Students weigh three controversial issues associated with the Patriot Act and American civil liberties, and how 9/11 has affected viewpoints. They also analyze the inconsistencies that may occur when trying to balance the need for national security and the need to protect civil liberties. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UV-L3: The 9/11 Commission Report

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 45–60 minutes
Synopsis:

Using a study guide, students review origins and tasks assigned to the 9/11 Commission and the key findings of the Commission. They analyze the recommendations of the Commission, the status of those recommendations, the legislation that implemented many of the recommendations, and any impact the recommendations have had on daily life in the United States. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UV-L4: War on Terror - Afghanistan: The Fall of the Taliban and After

Unit V: Post 9/11
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 90–160 minutes
Synopsis:

Using readings, web sites, and online videos, students examine the Taliban regime and the reason for the U.S. going to war against Afghanistan as part of the War on Terror. They identify the restrictions on women and their impact on women who lived under the Taliban’s ‘gender apartheid’ laws from 1996–2001, analyze the progress Afghanistan has made in forging a democracy since the fall of the Taliban, and evaluate the challenges that a resurgent Taliban represents to the U.S. and the democratic Afghan government. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UVI-L1: Living Memorials

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 40 minutes
Synopsis:

Using online resources, students analyze photographs as primary source documents and describe and discuss living memorials. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UVI-L2: Music as an Instrument of Memory

Unit VI: Remembrance and the Creation of Memory
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 40–120 minutes
Synopsis:

Using songs composed following the attacks of September 11, 2001, students analyze the lyrics and patterns in music to interpret what the composer is saying through song. The students learn how people may find music a powerful means to express many different emotions, to honor people, and to memorialize both tragic and joyous events. They explain how the culture, traditions, and history of a people and a nation may be traced and analyzed through its music. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UVII-L1: Cycle of Liberation: A Model to Work Out World Problems?

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 120 minutes+
Synopsis:

Students read about, analyze, and discuss the Cycle of Liberation model. They study the model to understand its component parts and then apply some parts of the cycle to local and global problems for its applicability to finding solutions. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UVII-L2: Crossing Boundaries: Truth and Reconciliation in a Difficult Time

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 240 minutes (3–4 block schedule 80-minute periods or 5–6 standard instructional 40-minute periods)
Synopsis:

Students investigate several examples of existing models employed to rebuild relationships in societies facing civil conflict. They analyze the strengths and weaknesses of truth and reconciliation models in promoting or fostering intercultural understanding and common goals and then prepare and defend a plan to implement one or more truth and reconciliation model(s) to reduce the potential for future terrorist violence. (Grades 9–12)

Lesson H-UVII-L3: The Next Step: Volunteering and Giving Service

Unit VII: Building Better Futures
Grade Levels: 9–12
Time: 120 minutes
Synopsis:

Students discover the kind of work performed by many public and private organizations and the people who volunteer and work for these groups. Then they apply their knowledge and skills by addressing a community, state, or national need through the completion of a student-designed service project. Students engage in active citizenship through the giving of their time, talents, and skills. (Grades 9–12)