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This lesson plan is supplemented with material from

Oklahoma City remembers

April 19, 2001
Web posted at: 3:52 PM EDT (1952 GMT)

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Curriculum connections: Social studies, psychology

Students can discover the facts about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to better understand the present situation.

After students have read the article, "Oklahoma City remembers a tragedy," ask the following questions:

1. What happened in the United States on April 19, 1995? How was that event commemorated on April 19, 2001? What has replaced the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building? What do the 19 tiny chairs represent?

2. Who is Timothy McVeigh? Why do you think that Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to let 250 survivors, family members and rescue workers watch his execution?

3. If you were a survivor, family member or rescue worker, would you want to watch McVeigh's execution? Many others also want to watch, and an Internet company has requested that it be allowed to webcast the event. The request was turned down by a federal judge, but the company plans to appeal. In the past, in various countries, citizens were required to watch public executions. What affect do you think that would have today? Do you think the execution should be available for the general public to view live? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

4. Direct students to use related sites or print materials to learn more about the actual events in Oklahoma City in 1995 and to find out about Timothy McVeigh -- who he is, what he believes and why he chose to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City. Based on what they find, ask them to analyze why the city holds a memorial each year and why the impending execution of McVeigh is so prominently in the news. Students may want to follow the "What makes a story newsworthy?" as they consider this assignment.

5. Students can use Web sites listed below and the lesson The Death Penalty: A question of life or death to learn views of proponents and opponents. Ask them to write their own argument for or against abolishing the death penalty.

Special Report: The Oklahoma City bombing
Court TV Legal Documents: The Death Penalty
Amnesty International against the death penalty
AIUSA: Rights for All: Death Penalty in the USA

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