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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Rebuilding The World Trade Center Site: A 9/11 Tribute

Project URL:

How it works:
This unit serves to memorialize the victims and heroes of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. It focuses on rebuilding, developing hope for the future, and "creating beauty and inspiration out of the ashes." Although designed for fifth graders in the New York City public school system, the activities may be adapted for older students and can also memorialize victims and heroes in other cities. Students develop the concept of what a memorial is, evaluate proposed designs for structures to be built at the World Trade Center site, use drawing and painting tools to design their own structures, learn writing and word processing skills to describe their designs, and develop the concept of area as they determine the number and size of the structures that can be accommodated at the WTC site.

Standards addressed:  
Students read, write, listen, and speak for literary response, expression, critical analysis, and evaluation as they evaluate and discuss criteria and design descriptions. They participate in group meetings; demonstrate a basic understanding of the rules of the English language in written and oral work; analyze and revise work to improve its clarity and effectiveness; develop eye-hand coordination and visualization skills by designing, constructing, and measuring structures; develop concepts of area of plane figures and surface area of solid figures as part of the construction phase; and develop a sense of pride and accomplishment through their work.

Materials used: 
Required materials include computers with Internet access, printer, and word processing, drawing and painting applications, as well as geoboards, rubber bands, boxes of various shapes and sizes, and rulers.

The students:
Rebuilding the World Trade Center Site: A 9/11 Tribute was created for fifth graders but is appropriate for students in grades five through twelve. The students attend P.S. 101 in Brooklyn, New York, and the classes are heterogeneously grouped. Because of the cooperative learning activities, students of varying abilities and skill levels work well together.

Overall value:
In this unit, the Internet is used as a research tool providing the most current information regarding the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. This results in students becoming motivated learners. Additionally, they gain confidence by working in cooperative groups and develop pride while developing and describing their own designs. The resultant designs were submitted to Mayor Bloomberg and to Cable News Network, showing the students that their ideas and contributions can make a difference in our society. This sense of pride and empowerment fosters a sense of hope for the future by stressing the idea of rebuilding the WTC site instead of focusing on the horrific events of 9/11.

Teachers should pre-screen online images and text and only present material that is appropriate for the age and maturity level of their students.


Carolyn Hornik has been a New York City public school teacher for twenty five years (12 years as a classroom teacher in third, fourth, and fifth grades and 13 years as a technology coordinator.) She teaches in-service courses for the New York City Board of Education After School Professional Development Program and on-line courses for new teachers through Teachers Network.


Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 10 or more

Subject: English, Social Studies

Beginning Grade Level: 4

Ending Grade Level: 8



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