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Teaching About 9/11

The following lessons and resources will help provide context for examining events before, during, and after the attacks.
Published: September 23, 2020 Last Updated: July 31, 2023

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, terrorists linked to al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger planes. Two were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overpower the hijackers. Its target may have been the Capitol or the White House. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2997 and injuries to more than 6000.

The following lessons and resources will help provide context for examining events before, during, and after the attacks.

Lesson Collections & Plans

9/11 Memorial & Museum
K-12 lessons and teaching guides.

9/11 Anniversary Teaching Guide
K-12 lessons and activities.

Lesson Plan 9/11: Ways to reflect on the day’s legacy more than two decades later
Lesson plan supplemented by PBS NewsHour anniversary content.

Background Resources

Teaching And Learning About 9/11 With The New York Times 
The New York Times archive of reporting and multimedia.

September 11 Digital Archive
More than 150,000 digital items: emails, first-hand stories, and images

Approaches to Teaching

How To Teach 9/11 To Students With No Memory Of It
Addresses the change from teaching as current event to teaching as history.

Teaching Sept. 11 To Students Who Were Born After The Attacks Happened
Stresses the need for teaching the event and its aftermath in all its complexity.

How To Talk About 9/11 With A New Generation Of Kids
Teachers struggle with whether and how to teach the attacks and their aftermath.

Making 9/11 Relevant to Young Learners
Examines how teachers can make 9/11 relevant to young learners, how textbook treatments have changed, and how much of what they teach is mandated by state standards. (requires an account with The Atlantic)

For Muslim Students, Life Changed After Sept. 11
Discusses how the events of 9/11 affected life for Muslim students.


9/11 Memorial and Museum
The official memorial website.


Remembering 9/11 With Indelible Pictures
27 images. Includes a viewer advisory.

The Story Behind the Haunting 9/11 Photo of a Man Falling From the Twin Towers  
Video (4:17) Interview with Richard Drew, the photographer who took the photograph.

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