9/11 Activities & Information for Kids

Instructor: Leah Salyer
9/11 can be an especially sensitive subject for kids who may not be old enough to understand what happened. Having the right approach when teaching students about 9/11 will be key to helping them process and understand why it's such an important part of our history. Read on to learn about different 9/11 activities for varying age groups.

Firefighters in the Community

One of the best ways to introduce young learners to the topic of 9/11 is to first introduce them to the community helpers that participated. One such group of community members is firefighters. Students can learn about firefighters and what they do by reading books and watching videos which should be readily available through your school library or online. After learning about firefighters, students may work on coloring pages related to the theme, or they may draw a picture of firefighters doing their jobs. You may take this activity a step further by inviting a firefighter to talk to students or by taking a field trip to a local firehouse. Younger students may also enjoy using construction paper and other art materials to make their own fire engine. Check out this lesson on Community Helpers to enhance this activity by giving your students an overview of what community helpers are.

Importance of Photography in Tragic Events

Students can learn how pictures captured the truth of 9/11 through an activity on the importance of photography in documenting history. The activity may begin as a discussion about pictures. Why do we take them? How do they make us feel? Why are they important? Have your students analyze photographs, asking themselves what the photographer was trying to capture and what happened before or after the picture was taken. Tell your students to think of a way to describe the photos they're seeing by coming up with a story about them. Next, split your class into groups and provide each group with a picture documenting 9/11. Have students work together as a group to write down what they think happened before, during and after the picture. Once the activity is complete, you may wish to display the pictures with the students' written accounts on a bulletin board to show off the students' work. This War on Terror lesson offers insight into what happened after the attacks and the corresponding war and can be used as an extension lesson for this activity.

Creating a Timeline

Students will be split into groups, and each group will receive a 9/11 topic. Examples of topics include Flight 93, the North Tower of the World Trade Center or Flight 77. Students will conduct research online to provide a timeline of events for each topic. A timeline of the overall events of 9/11 may be provided as an example for students to follow. Once the students' timelines are complete, they may share them with the class. This lesson on Creating Timelines can help you instruct your students on what a timeline is, what to include in it and how to create one.

Interviews That Look Back

Begin by opening up a discussion to see what students know about 9/11. Have them write down what they know on notecards as well as any questions they would like answered about the event. Collect the notecards and show students age-appropriate video footage of 9/11. After the videos, continue discussion based on the questions written on the notecards. Split students up into groups and provide a list of appropriate websites for them to research 9/11 better. Once they have a better understanding of the event, assign students an individual project that will require them to interview someone they know about their experiences and perceptions of 9/11. To incorporate technology, students may choose to type up their interview, create a slideshow or video tape the interview process to share with the class. This 9/11 Facts lesson is a great source for general information on the events of 9/11.

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