9/11 And The American Dream: Education Worksheet

Video highlights from 9/11 and The American Dream

Junior and Senior Secondary

PROGRAMME TITLE    9/11 And The American Dream

SCHOOL LEVEL    Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary


The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of New York City’s World Trade Centre play out in real time on television sets around the world. Thousands of innocent people lose their lives, international geopolitical boundaries are redrawn and the homeland security of many countries is seriously challenged. Socioeconomic and health implications – physical and psychological – are ongoing. 9/11 and the American Dream personalizes the unfolding drama following the Twin Towers attacks, presenting stories from a cross-section of people who are affected either directly, or as close family members. This program encourages viewers to think critically about contemporary geopolitical issues, ethical principles, moral integrity, and basic regard for fellow humans. Above all, viewers appreciate shared humanity during a horrific crisis in the multi-cultural diversity of the world’s most famous city.


A decade on from the horrors of 9/11, most school students are too young to remember the events of 9/11. However, the far-ranging and ongoing implications of the events require knowledge and understanding in the context of global politics and international conflict.  Encouraging students to think critically about the attacks helps promote understanding of the continued threat of terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Soaring bold and beautiful above a formidable city of skyscrapers, the sheer scale and grandeur of the World Trade Centre’s Twin Towers are a potent reminder of the American Dream. The buildings, completed in 1973, enjoy iconic status as a symbol of New York. In 9/11 And The American Dream, the World Trade Centre in New York City unifies an otherwise disparate collection of people from around the world.

These characters are drawn to New York City from countries as diverse as Malaysia, France, Canada, Japan, England, Ukraine, Ecuador, Pakistan and Australia. They embrace the entire social spectrum, from ‘undocumented worker’ to the top echelons of big business. Their common goal is to realise individual dreams of success and achievement.

A series of interviews establishes the characters’ personalities, backgrounds and aspirations, then sets them up for the day of the attacks – a calm, beautiful, ‘normal’ morning – as they head into work at the World Trade Centre.

Using a mix of archival still and moving images, the documentary presents the facts of 9/11 in an emotional and memorable way. It illustrates the relationship between people and the built environment, and helps develop students’ understanding of active citizenship in a global context.


Junior Secondary Curriculum

Geography shows students ways in which they can positively influence their world as
active local, national and global citizens by encouraging them to question why things are the way they are, to investigate issues and to evaluate alternative, more sustainable futures. Through exploration and discussion, students develop an informed view of their responsibilities towards the environment and to people throughout the world.
Australian Geography Curriculum 2011: Introduction

Senior Secondary Curriculum

Geography attempts to achieve a holistic and integrated understanding of its subject matter by drawing on knowledge from the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, and incorporating this into geography’s three perspectives. This assists cross-disciplinary learning and helps students recognise the connections between geography and more specialised subjects they may be studying.
Australian Geography Curriculum 2011: Perspectives


Junior and Senior Secondary

In undertaking these tasks, students of Geography will:
•    explore and gain a good understanding of geographical thinking including its perspectives, concepts and ways of explaining
•    become thoughtful and active local, national and global citizens, and … understand how they can influence the futures of places
•    ask geographical questions, … collect and analyse information, … reach conclusions based on evidence and logical reasoning, and communicate their findings in effective ways
Australian Geography Curriculum Foundation to Year 12 2011: Aims


Junior Secondary

Task 1
Download a map of the world from
Save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook.
Go back to the website and use the zoom toggle so you can find the following countries and highlight them on your downloaded map:

Malaysia         Pakistan
France            Ukraine
Ecuador          Australia
Japan             Canada

Draw a line from each of these countries to show their geographical proximity to New York City.

Task 2
Write a paragraph about the World Trade Centre, including answers to the following questions:

•    Who designed the building?
•    What were its dimensions?
•    When was it built?
•    What was it made of?
•    Where was it located?
•    What was its purpose?
•    What is there now?

Task 3
Choose five of the nine characters who feature in the 9/11 And the American Dream documentary. Write a paragraph about each of the characters that includes answers to the following questions:

•    What is his/her name?
•    Where is he/she originally from?
•    Why did he/she come to America?
•    What job did he/she do at the World Trade Centre?
•    Which tower did he/she work in?
•    Which floor did he/she work on?
•    What was he/she doing when the first plane hit?
•    What action did he/she take?
•    Did he/she survive?
•    If so, how has his/her life changed since then?
•    If not, how has his/her family coped with the tragedy?

Task 4
After watching 9/11 And The American Dream use the internet to research the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. Then write two paragraphs of about 100 words each to describe what happened on the day September 11, 2001.

Task 5
In 100 words, explain why you believe the terrorists chose the USA and the World Trade Centre as the target of their attack on 9/11. Add two extra sentences:

1.    State what you think the terrorists’ goal was, and
2.    Comment on whether the terrorists actually achieved their goal or not.


Senior Secondary

Task 1
Draw a horizontal timeline for the day the of Twin Towers attack on 9/11. Start at 00:00 and finish at 24:00. Mark the timeline into hourly intervals. On your timeline, plot the movements of one of the characters featured in 9/11 And the American Dream.
(Note: do not include other attacks that occurred on the same day.)

Task 2
Through Internet research, find out who masterminded the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Then write 150 words to explain:

1.    Why the attacks occurred
2.    Why the World Trade Centre was chosen as a target
3.    Whether or not the perpetrators of the attack achieved their goal.

Task 3
The World Trade Centre towers were an iconic symbol of capitalism. In a matter of hours, they were transformed into what became known as Ground Zero. In 200 words describe the Ground Zero area and environment occupied by the World Trade Centre before and then after the attacks of 9/11. What emotional impact has this change had on New York City community.

Task 4
In 150 words write a brief account of the impact of this terrorist act on America nation from a physical, an economic and a psychological perspective.

Task 5
It is often said, that the world is no longer the same as it was before 9/11. Write a list of 10 ways in which the world has changed as a direct result of the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks. From an ethical standpoint, write 100 words to evaluate America’s reaction to the attacks.


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