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Last Updated: Wednesday April 18 2007 10:19 GMT

Dealing with loss

Dealing with loss


A sea of candles at the night of remembrance

Thousands of people have been attending a candle-lit night of remembrance and prayers for those who died in the shooting at a US university.

Friends, family and local residents gathered on Virginia Tech baseball field to remember the 32 people who were killed. As darkness fell they held up candles in cups in tribute to the dead.

Children discuss the value of memorials and design their own to commemorate the victims of this shooting.

Learning aims
    How memorials help grieving Different types of memorial
Main activity

Ask the group:

    Students support one another

    More resources:

  • What different types of memorial can you think of? Gravestones, war monuments, places where famous people lived etc.
  • What might be a fitting permanent memorial for people who died at a place of study? Present and discuss some of the memorial ideas that can be found in the Teachers' Background.
  • Children can either:

    • Design a fitting memorial for the staff and students.

  • Write a poem about dealing with loss. Ideas might include:
    • A statue A sculpture that symbolises loss/learning/youthA memorial that is also a resource for the living, eg a library An event e.g. music concert A park dedicated to their memory

    Include an explanation of the thinking behind the memorial design or poem.

    Extension activity

    Children construct a model of their memorial.

    About 30cm in height should be fine so that the ideas can be displayed more easily.


    Children present their designs and poems and explain the thinking behind them.

    Teachers' Background
    • When pop star Freddie Mercury, the frontman of Queen, died in 1991, the remaining members of his band decided a concert would be a fitting memorial for him. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was held on April 20, 1992, at London's Wembley Stadium. It was shown on TV around the world and all the proceeds went to Aids research.

  • Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in 1997. Her death was greeted with massive public grief and an extraordinary spontaneous memorial was created around her home at Kensington Palace in London. More than one million bouquets were left there by members of the public. Her funeral at Westminster Abbey attracted millions of mourners.
  • Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana died in 1994. He has no marked grave, so lots of fans visit a Park, near his former home, to pay tribute. On the anniversary of his death, fans gather in the park and celebrate his life and memory.
  • Steve Irwin's death was marked by more than 5,000 people who gathered to remember the TV naturalist at his zoo in Australia. The special memorial service was shown on TV around the world. In the two weeks following his death, thousands of fans left flowers, cards and even khaki shirts outside the zoo he ran. For hundreds more news-based lessons, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

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