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The Curriculum and Resource Guide

Learning from the Challenges of Our Time: 
Global Security, Terrorism, and 9/11 in the Classroom  

The 4 Action Initiative curriculum, “Learning from the Challenges of Our Time: Global Security, Terrorism, and 9/11 in the Classroom,” will provide opportunities for children to explore the most challenging issues facing the world today. It includes seven units for grades K-12.  A team of volunteer curriculum-writers and educators developed over 130 lesson plans.  Each unit draws on new and existing curricula covering multiple subject areas ranging from human behavior to activities that help students understand how they can contribute to their communities and the global society.

The curriculum will provide information so students learn about the factors that led to the events of 9/11, further understand that terrorism is global; are provided with the skills to inspire them to affect others in positive ways; and to preserve the memory of those who died on 9/11.

The project was launched with a conference in 2008 at Liberty Science Center. More than 100 teachers representing all grade levels and subjects taught in the state of New Jersey attended the conference to explore how to create a guide for educators in order to address challenging world events in the classroom.  Former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission, gave the keynote address.

Following the July 2008 conference, a team of 17 teacher/curriculum writers volunteered to draft materials in the eight identified curriculum areas under the direction of Dr. Paul Winkler of The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. In November 2008 and April 2009, they gathered in person to discuss progress and refine work accomplished.
The curriculum is divided into eight units for each grade level group - elementary, middle and high school. The lessons contained within the units are constructed using age-appropriate content and resource materials.

1) Human Behavior

2) Terrorism: From the Playground to the World Stage

3) Development of a Historical Context of Terrorism

4) 9/11/01: A Contemporary Case Study

5) Consequences and Challenges in a Post- 9/11 World

6) Remembrance and Public Memory

7) Building Better Futures; Narrative, Recovery and Responsibility

8) Resources (Teacher guide, Bibliography, Activities for students and teachers)


After 16 months of lesson plan refinement and preparation of the curriculum, a one-day teacher training was held in October 2009 to provide guidance to teachers participating in the pilot phase.  Sixty-two teachers volunteered to pilot lesson plans in their classrooms.  They represent urban, suburban and rural districts as well as the different regions of the state (south, central and northern). During the summer of 2010, the teachers and curriculum writers have refined the lesson plans to prepare them for broader distribution in 2010. The full curriculum should be available nationwide in 2011.