9-12 U.S. History 9-12


This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the concept of “courage” in general, and the actions of those who responded to the 9/11 attacks, more specifically. Those attacks, over 10 years ago, have now passed from current event to history. By focusing on a relatively recent event, students should see that history is not resigned to the distant past. Moreover, by featuring individuals who responded to the 9/11 attacks in a variety of ways, students should see that history consists of more than the actions of a famous few.


Compelling Question:

How Should We Define Courage?

Staging the Question:

Have students read a sampling of historic quotes on “courage” and identify elements of courage within the quotes.

Supporting Question How was courage displayed on 9/12, and the months that followed?

Formative Task For two of the sources, choose a quote from the Staging the Compelling Question task that demonstrates each responder’s courage and explain in 3-4 sentences why the quote is apt.

Sources Source A: Candice Baker (NYPD)
Source B: Paul J. Lioy (Research Scientist)
Source C: Mindy Hersh (NYPD)
Source D: Dr. David J. Prezant (FDNY Lung Specialist)
Source E: Lyndon Harris (Episcopal Priest)
Source F: John Feal (Construction Foreman)

Summative Performance Task

Argument: How should we define courage? Construct an argument (e.g., detailed outline, poster, essay) that answers the compelling question using the featured sources.
Extension: If a crisis responder award was being developed, nominate criteria for the award.