Understanding September 11th Lesson Plan: A Collaborative Project

Submitted by: Sara

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-12, students use BrainPOP resources to gain a deeper understanding of the events related to September 11th. Students analyze related statistics and commemorate the heroes of September 11th by representing the data analyzed with a creative collaborative project.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Gain a deeper understanding of the events related to September 11th
  2. Analyze related statistics
  3. Commemorate the heroes of September 11th by representing the data analyzed with a small group creative project


  • Computer & projector or interactive whiteboard (IWB) set up to view brainpop.com as a whole class
  • Chart paper or IWB for modeling note-taking
  • Paper & pencils
  • Assortment of materials for creative student projects


Note: choose what is appropriate for your students. Twin Towers; World Trade Center; hijacked; Pentagon; terrorism; al Qaeda; Islam; Muslims; Koran; Fundamentalism; Osama bin Laden


Preview BrainPOP's September 11th movie. Plan out where you want to pause and engage in class discussions as appropriate for your students.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Establish a safe and supportive classroom tone where students are made to feel comfortable asking questions and addressing a sensitive issue. You might review class rules for this type of conversation.
  2. Ask students what they already know about September 11th, being sensitive to the possibility that multiple students may have been directly affected, and that there may be many common misconceptions that will need to be addressed.
  3. Document students ideas on a KWL chart (see BrainPOP Educators's Graphic Organizers).
  4. Take the BrainPOP Graded Quiz on September 11th as a pre-assessment. Tell students they can revisit the quiz after watching the movie, and to keep an eye out for answers they were uncertain about during the movie.
  5. Give students paper and pencils for note-taking during the movie. You might have them create a T-chart to record Facts Learned and That Makes Me Think...
  6. Watch the Movie. Model note-taking at the first pause point. Continue pausing for discussions at key concepts.
  7. After the movie, take time for students to share their notes. Revisit the KWL chart and note any misconceptions.
  8. Explore the FYI features. Use the Graphs, Stats, & Numbers tab to analyze together. Read the Did You Know tab to highlight how citizens came together to overcome the devastation of September 11th.
  9. Divide students into small groups. Each group should decide on one statistic that they want to creatively represent in a commemorative project.
  10. Provide creative materials and time for creating high quality projects. When finished, invite students to share with other classes or create a display and invite guests. Or, perhaps students will want to present their creations to an organization (fire station, for example).

Extension Activity:

Create a museum of student projects and invite other classes, colleagues, community members, and families to the exhibit. Create a comment book for each project and invite visitors to leave comments. Explore the additional tabs of the FYI, and invite students to write their own Q&As to document the knowledge they've gained and help other students understand this topic better.