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Teachers: PSHE: Loss

Last Updated: Monday September 12 2005 14:46 GMT

11 September memorial

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Dealing with loss


Two hijacked planes crashing into World Trade Center
A memorial service to mark the 11 September attacks on the US has been held at the former site of New York's World Trade Center.

Students design their own memorial to commemorate the events of four years ago.

Learning aims
  • Reflect upon the events of 11 September
  • Design a memorial for those events
  • Understand the use of symbolism

George W Bush marks 8.46am at the White House

News comprehension

Read out this news-story to the class:

This article, following questions and activities are available as a printable worksheet.

A memorial service to mark the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US has been held at the former site of New York's World Trade Center.

The Brooklyn Youth Chorus sang the Star Spangled Banner at the start of the ceremony.

The names of the 2,749 people who died as a result of the Twin Towers attack were read out by their brothers and sisters.

The ceremony paused for a minute's silence at 8:46am when the first plane hit the north tower.

The reading of the names was interrupted at the time of the south tower attack, and again to mark the moment when both towers collapsed.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dedicated a poem to those who died four years ago.

Ceremonies were also held at the Pentagon in Washington and in Pennsylvania where the other two planes crashed.

Commemorations also took place in the German capital Berlin and the southern Russian city of Volgograd, where more than 50,000 people formed a 40km-long human chain.

Twin Towers

Ask students:

1. What happened on 11 September 2001?

Terrorists took control of four planes and crashed them into:

  • The north tower of the World Trade Center in New York
  • The south tower of the World Trade Center in New York
  • The Pentagon (US military headquarters) in Washington DC.
  • A rural area 80 miles from Pittsburgh
For more information, click on the link to our guide in the blue box.

2. The UK's National Anthem is "God Save the Queen." What's the name of the US National Anthem? The Star Spangled Banner.

3. How many people died as a result of the 11 September attacks? 2,749 people.

4. What did the pauses in the ceremony mark? The times when the when the planes hit the north tower, the south tower, and when the Twin Towers collapsed.

5. What did the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, do to mark the anniversary of the attack? Dedicate a poem the victims.

6. Why were ceremonies also held at the Pentagon in Washington and Pennsylvania? To mark the two other plane crashes on 11 September.

7. What did people do in the Russian city of Volgograd, to mark the attack? More than 50,000 people formed a 40km-long human chain.



Explain to students that memorial events often involve symbolism - an object or action which stands for an idea or a feeling.

For example, at a Jewish funeral, family members wear a small torn black ribbon on their clothes to show that a loved one has been ripped from the fabric of their lives.

Ask students to complete these sentences:

These prompts are printed on the bottom of the worksheet

1. I think The Brooklyn Youth Chorus sang the National Anthem to symbolise...

2. The silences in the ceremony may have symbolised...

3. I believe the poem dedicated to the victims was meant to symbolise...

4. The 40km-long human chain may have symbolised...

Main activity

Daniel Libeskind's World Trade C enter design

Explain to students that a 73-storey building, to replace the World Trade Center, is due to open in 2011.

The proposed Freedom Tower is set to be the tallest building in the world and has been described as a "soaring tribute" to the "heroes lost."

If possible, show students the printable picture gallery, showing what The Freedom Tower will look during the day and at night.

Ask them to design a fitting memorial to build on Ground Zero, the site of the Twin Tower attacks.

Ideas might include:

  • A statue representing the victims
  • A symbol of hope
  • A monument that draws its design from the World Trade Center
  • A peace park
Students should include an explanation of the thinking behind their design and any symbolism.

Extension activity

Students construct a model of their memorial, limiting them to about 30cm in height, so the ideas can be displayed more easily.


Students present their models and explain their thinking behind their design and any symbolism.

Ask students:

  • Why do people make memorials and tributes?
  • What different types of memorial can you think of?

    Teachers' background

    The Freedom Tower is the winner of a competition to design a Ground Zero memorial. Here are some of the other ideas that were put forward:

    • Two piers projecting out into New York Harbour, each divided into 110 'floors'. As visitors pass over each floor they encounter the story of what happened on that floor, including names of victims.

    • An park and an underground memorial connected by a circular pool. The pool's 3,000 pieces of blue stained glass form the ceiling of the underground memorial and are illuminated by day and by night. The pool is curved like the top of a sphere and its colours suggest the Earth.
    Other memorials around the world:

    Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park
    It contains very moving displays of the effects of the atomic bombing. In front of the building is a statue called Mother and Child in the Storm and the Fountain of Prayer. Colourful origami cranes are left on most of the memorials, monuments and statues in the park as a symbol of visitors' wish for Peace.

    Washington DC World War II Memorial
    It consists of a Rainbow Pool surrounded in a circular pattern with 56 pillars to represent the unity of the US states and territories during the war. Visitors enter the sunken plaza on ramps which pass by two giant arches that represent the two fronts of the war. Inside is a Freedom Wall covered with 4,000 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans that died during World War II.

    Curriculum relevance

    PSHE / KS 2&3 /PSHE
    1d. Recognise the stages of emotions associated with loss and change caused by death, and how to deal positively with the strength of their feelings in different situations.

    The numbers refer to the KS3 National Curriculum guidelines for PSHE.

    For hundreds more news-based stories, click on Teachers on the left-hand side.

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