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Social Studies
Grade: Middle

#2456. Pearl Harbor vs September 11 attack

Social Studies, level: Middle
Posted Thu Dec 6 08:57:13 PST 2001 by Alison Hargraves (
Eastern Washington University, Spokane, USA
Materials Required: Board/dry erase markers, Pencil,paper
Activity Time: 50 minutes
Concepts Taught: Compare and Contrast/ informed opinion

Pearl Harbor Attack vs. September 11, 2001 Attack Lesson Plan

Goal: This lesson will allow the students to compare and contrast the events of the Pearl Harbor Attack and the attack on September 11, 2001, by examining the similarities and differences between these two events. They can then make an informed opinion as to whether a comparison between the two events is valid.

Domains: Affective, Cognitive.

Objectives: The student will be able to:
Recall the events on December 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Recall the events of the September 11, 2001 attack in New York and Washington D.C.
Find similarities in these two events.
Discover differences in these two events.
Make an informed opinion as to whether these events have more similarities or differences.

Board/ Dry erase Markers

Anticipatory Set:
On the board have the quote "A day that will live in infamy ..". Ask the children if they have ever heard these words before. Talk about who said these words and why (President Roosevelt after the Pearl Harbor attack). Discuss the attack on Pearl Harbor and answer any questions the children may have. Explain what Roosevelt meant by these words (that this event will be remembered forever in our history and that this event altered our lives). Ask them if they can think of any other events could use these words to describe it. Let them answer (with a little description of each event mentioned) until students come up with the September 11 attack. Explain to the students that this event will be one that is discussed in our History books and that the people who lived through it (including them) will never forget where they were and what they were doing when they discovered what had happened. Remind them that after the September 11, attack, there were some people who were comparing these two events. Tell the students that today we are going to look at whether this was a valid comparison

1. Brainstorm: Write the date December 7, 1941 on the board. Then write September 11 2001 on the adjacent board. Make a column for similarities and a column for differences (one on each board). Ask the students if they can think of any similarities or differences between these two events. As the students come up with ideas, discuss them in detail and decide as a class whether they are truly similarities or differences. This activity will continue until the students run out of ideas. Use guided questions to help them come up with similarities or differences that you have thought of and that have not been addressed.
2. Class Discussion: Ask the children if they think that the events can be compared based on what has been written on the board. Allow the children time to explain their conclusions and debate their answers if necessary.
3. Assignment: If there is time left in the class or as a homework assignment. Have the students elaborate on one of two statements:
a. September 11, 2001 can be compared to the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7,1941 because:
b. September 11, 2001 cannot be compared to the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 because:

Explain to the students that there is no right and wrong answer. Their answers are right if they can back up their statement with facts that have been discussed in class. Tell them that they must have at least five supportive "facts" to back up their opinion.

Follow Up: Allow the children to receive extra credit if they can think of another historical event that one can compare the September 11 tragedy to and why. Or make this an activity at a later date.

Helping Students with Special Needs:
Have these students write down all of the information on the Board if they think it will help them. Allow these students to discuss their ideas individually with the teacher, before they write their essay. Give them individual instruction if they need further assistance.

Participation Points (5)
Assignment (50)
Total points (55)
Extra Credit (5)