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9/11 Ten Years Later: Educator and Parent Guide

(CNN Student News) -- Note to Educators and Parents: Today's middle and high school students may have been too young to remember or to understand what happened on September 11, 2001. The events of that tragic day, while memorable to adults, are not in many students' immediate frame of reference. As the nation observes the 10th anniversary 9/11, you may choose to address it with your students. CNN Student News has provided these discussion questions and learning activity to help guide students' understanding of the events of that day and their impact on students' lives.

Questions for Discussion

What do you already know about the 9/11 terrorist attacks? What else would you like to know about what happened that day? What sources would you use to find more information about the events of 9/11?

If you had the opportunity to interview witnesses to one of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, what questions would you ask? What would you want to know about their experiences and thoughts?

Who addressed the people of the U.S. on the evening of 9/11? What did he say? Why do you think it was important for him to address the American people on the day that the attacks happened?

Who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks? What was the motive behind the attacks? What was the U.S. government's response to the attacks?

How did the nation and its leaders come together in the days following September 11?

What do you know about security measures that were put in place after 9/11? What measures do you see at airports and other places that aim to promote public safety? What do you think of these measures?

What role do you think that passengers, airlines, airport authorities and other officials should play in air travel security? In your opinion, what, if anything else, should be done to promote secure air travel?

Why do you think that debate surfaced between advocates of public safety and civil liberties in the months that followed 9/11? What is your position in this debate?

What aspects of American life do you think were changed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

In your opinion, are there any lessons to be learned from what happened on September 11, 2001? Explain.

How do you think that those who lost their lives in the attacks of 9/11 should be remembered? How do you think that the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 should be observed? How will you observe it?

Learning Activity: A Timeline and History

Generate a class discussion to find out what students may already know about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and how the attacks affected many Americans and people around the world.

Then, divide the class into groups. Assist groups in researching the events of September 11, 2001. Guide groups as they conduct online research to find stories, images, personal accounts and other elements that help them learn more about the events of that day. Next, have groups share their findings to create an interactive timeline of the events of 9/11 with links to the resources they have found. As a class, review the completed timeline and links. Invite other classes to a presentation of the timeline or create a website to host it as an instructional tool for future students. Ask students to discuss their thoughts on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and how they think the attacks will be remembered in the future.

Curriculum Connections

Social Studies

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: The Themes of Social Studies


Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ways human beings view themselves in and over time.


Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.


Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.


Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create, interact with, and change structures of power, authority, and governance.

The National Curriculum Standards for the Social Studies are produced by the National Council for the Social Studies.