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Compare and Contrast, Social Studies, American History



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9/11/2001: Lesson Plan Grades 7–8


A Day for Reflection
Gettysburg Address/Then and Now (PDF): Though it may seem strange for New York's Governor to deliver a 150-year-old speech on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks, a close look at the "Gettysburg Address" will reveal just how fitting the historic speech is to this painful occasion. Have students visit the Library of Congress Web site to read the "Gettysburg Address," then distribute the reproducible. Have students use the questions on the sheet to compare the circumstances surrounding Lincoln's initial reading of the address and the circumstances under which the speech is being read today.

Kids Make a Difference
Skits Send a Message: Have the class read "A Moving Picture," our story about Queens high school students who wrote and directed a film about the aftermath of 9/11. Then, divide students into small groups and ask them to create and perform short skits on similar 9/11 themes: grief, joining together, prejudice, etc. You can also discuss with students the inspiration for the Empty Spaces film — the sense the Queens kids had that they were living history rather than studying it. Ask: Did you have that feeling over the course of the past year? What are some ways (besides making a film) that we could chronicle these historic events for later generations? (Possible answers: journals, time capsules, news scrapbooks)

A Nation Recovers
Gold Medal Heroes: After reading about Todd Beamer and the other heroes of Flight 93, discuss how the people on board that plane should be remembered and honored. Many have suggested awarding Beamer and others on board the flight Congressional Gold Medals for their valor. Americans who have won this medal in the past include Rosa Parks, Jonas Salk, and the Little Rock Nine. Ask your students: If it were up to you, would you award this prestigious medal to those on Flight 93? If so, would you give the medal to all of the victims on board or just a chosen few? How would you decide?

What's Next for America?
Be a Puzzle Pro (PDF): Have students use the information from "10 Frequently Asked Questions" to complete the crossword puzzle. Questions focus on the war on terrorism.
[Answers: Across 2. Iraq; 7. Mountains; 9. Cuba; 10. Great Britain; 11. Pakistan. Down 1. Biological; 3. Sleeper; 4. Musharraf; 5. Tora Bora; 6. Indonesia; 8. Ashcroft]

A Time for Tolerance
Take the Pledge: Don't miss this opportunity to pledge to stop hate and boost tolerance in America's classrooms. Click on "Take the Pledge to Stop Hate," then organize a school-wide pledge event.

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