The September 11th Education Program: A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum

By Kurtz, Alice | Multimedia & Internet@Schools, November/December 2009 | Go to article overview

The September 11th Education Program: A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum


Kurtz, Alice, Multimedia & Internet@Schools


Company: The September 11th Education Trust/Social Studies School Service, 10200 Jefferson Boulevard, Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232. Phone: (800) 421-4246; internet: www.learnabout9-ll.org.

Price: $129 for a single user; $499 for a 5-user license.

Audience: The publisher recommends grades 6-12; the reviewer recommends grades 9-12 for most of the materials.

Format: Two DVDs, internet-based resources, and print materials.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with a DVD player and internet access providing sufficient bandwidth to play online videos.

Description: The September 11th Education Program is a seven-unit multimedia curriculum that provides an in-depth study of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The DVDs offer personal interviews, oral histories, and primary source materials for the lessons. The related website provides additional resources, research links, a forum for posting student work, and the option of interacting with family members of victims and survivors of 9/11. The printed lesson materials include a teacher's guide and student handouts.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: The two DVDs loaded easily. Disc 1 contains a 10minute memorial to victims and survivors, the video content for the lessons, and PDF files of student materials. Disc 2 holds the timeline of events and lesson materials. The main menu is clearly marked for each segment.

The website, www.learnabout911.org, requires a login and password for the use of the majority of segments. Sample lessons and an overview video are available online without a login, but the forum and additional materials require users to sign in. Users create a Ning ID with a protected profile that can be used by other Ning-based social networks. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: The September 11th Education Program offers teachers a powerful way to engage students in critically examining a defining moment in American history. The program was developed by the September 11th Education Trust - a nonprofit organization directed by 9/11 victims' families, survivors, rescue workers, and educators - in cooperation with Social Studies School Service and The Taft Institute for Government at Queens College.

The teaching materials include two DVDs, an interactive website where students can post work or commentary, a teacher's manual, and student handouts. The material is divided into seven lessons. Each lesson centers on oral interviews with survivors, family members of victims, and government and civil officials. The supporting materials are offered in print and video.

The lessons can be used as a whole unit or as individual segments in any order. The curriculum is tied to national standards; learning objectives that integrate with inquiry-based social studies work are clearly stated. Fd recommend a target audience of secondary students for most of these materials.

The program's developers suggest showing "Remembrance," a 10minute memorial to victims and survivors, as an introduction. The segment is powerful and emotional; it sets a thoughtful tone for the unit.

The first lesson, Visualizing 9/11, examines the effect of words and images on historical events. Lesson 2, The Historian's Craft: Timelines, incorporates personal narratives and timelines as tools to identify the sequence of events leading up to 9/11. This lesson also gives students an opportunity to conduct an oral history.

Lesson 3, The Post-9/11 Recovery Process, focuses on the aftermath of the attacks. Some of the interviews and discussions in this lesson are appropriate for more mature students. The material considers the complications of dealing with a disaster of this magnitude in terms of preparedness, responders, and communications, as well as the task of identifying human remains.

Lesson 4, Designing a 9/11 Memorial, and Lesson 5, Honoring Heroes, can be used with middle school students if the material is adapted for age-appropriate content.

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