September 11

Learners as Historians

created by Ira David Socol and Pamela R. Moran

Sixth Grade Collaborative Conversations
The Events of September 11, 2001
Our Group Projects

Other Resources on September 11

The Collaboration

You were about 2-years-old when “9/11” occurred, but that does not mean that you do not "remember" that day in some way. In the decade since the images, the stories, and the results of "9/11" have surrounded you.

Your "memory" is really history, and history is made of stories which people tell about the past. People tell stories for many reasons, to remember, to persuade, to change how we might act, and the stories surrounding September 11, 2001 have been told for all these reasons.

As we look at "9/11" we will also look at other events, events which occurred before you were born. By looking at these events, and discovering what is remembered, what is forgotten, and how the stories have been told we hope to start to learn how history is "created."

But we are not going to do this alone. You will join with other sixth graders around the United States to research and discuss this. In doing so you will learn to use collaboration tools so that even though you might be far away from each other, you will be able to see each other, write together, learn together.

To start, let's go back to the beginning of the World Trade Center. Thirty-seven years ago the buildings were not quite finished. They were a bit controversial in New York, where the Empire State Building had reigned as the city's (and world's) tallest building for almost 40 years. The towers, "One World Trade Center" and "Two World Trade Center," were not just taller than the Empire State Building, but much larger, and they did not taper into the sky the way the older building did.

The new towers interfered with television reception for a few years, as signals sent from the top of the Empire State Building bounced off the Trade Center and "repeated" causing "ghosts" of images on TV sets.

With all this going on, a French acrobat named Philippe Petit came up with a way to instantly make the World Trade Center part of New York, by creating an amazing story about the towers...

Walking between the Towers
as you can see in this video (under 7 minutes) the World Trade Center was still unfinished in the summer of 1974, 37 years ago. At that moment in time these were the world’s tallest buildings (but what passed by Chicago’s Sears Tower before the year 1974 ended).

Philippe Petit 1974
shorter (under 3 minute) video

WCBS-TV Newscast on "Man on Wire"
1974 WCBS Newscast