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Discussing a national crisis

September 11, 2001
Web posted at: 12:45 PM EDT (1645 GMT)
Students
Students at Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts in Fort Myers, Florida, watch coverage of the World Trade Center and Pentagon incidents. Teachers were instructed to continue the day as normal. If teachers opt to have news coverage in the classroom, they are encouraged to have open discussions with the students.  


Overview: Students will want to talk about the tragic events that occurred in New York and Washington D.C. Use this article and discussion activity as an opportunity to allow students to discuss their thoughts and emotions about the events. Have students examine the role of the National Security Council in dealing with the crisis.

Curriculum Connections: Psychology, U.S. History, Government, Current Issues, International Relations

After students read the CNNfyi.com story, "Search for survivors grinds on after terrorist attacks," ask the following questions:

1. Encourage your students to talk and write about their feelings surrounding the events of the day. Ask: How did you respond to the news? How did the images of this tragedy affect you? What emotions have you experienced? Do you feel safe? If not, what do you think the adults you know and U.S. leaders should do to promote a feeling of safety?

2. What are some of the theories associated with the plane crashes in New York and Washington? Do these attacks resemble any other recent terrorist attacks? Explain. What is terrorism? Why do you think these targets were singled out?

3. Describe President Bush's reaction to the attack. How would you describe his tone and demeanor? What steps is he taking to address the situation?

RESOURCE
More: Talk about what happened, counselors advise  
 

4. Who are the members of the National Security Council, and what is the council's mission? Have students consult their texts and other resources to learn more about the NSC and its response in critical international situations. Discuss why the NSC is the appropriate government agency to handle this crisis.

5. Addressing the nation in a time of tragedy is something that many presidents have had to do. What do you think goes through the chief executive's mind as he prepares to comfort the citizens of his country and assert a sense of control? Have each student choose any one leader and write a journal entry that he/she may have written on the event of a national tragedy. Have students share their entries and discuss the factors that shaped their perception of that leader's handling of the crisis.



RELATED SITES:
• New York State Office of Mental Health: Crisis Counseling Guide, Defining Disaster
• FEMA: Is crisis counseling available?
• US Department of State - Home Page
• FEMA: FACT SHEET: TERRORISM

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