America Responds to Terrorism
How Youth Can Help - Civic Action Project Suggestions

How Youth Can Help — Civic Action Project Suggestions

For many people, including youth, providing opportunities to take positive action to help can be an effective learning and coping strategy. People across the country are collecting money for the Red Cross and other assistance agencies, and thanking the rescue crews for their heroism. CRF has provided a list of additional service-learning projects students could do. Other educators* have contributed to the list of service-learning project suggestions.

Twelve Project Suggestions

  1. Hold a teach-in. Using the social studies department and CRF’s online lessons as a resource, hold school or community presentations and discussions about topics and issues related to terrorism. Topics could include the history, culture, and geography of the Middle East; a discussion of Middle Eastern attitudes toward the United States; the economic, political and social effects of globalization on the “have-nots” of the area; origins and character of the Taliban and the rise of Osama bin Laden; how our nation has dealt with previous attacks to its security; issues of security versus freedom, and more.

  2. Hold a community town meeting. Have students brainstorm and research topics as a preparation for moderating discussions about terrorism-related issues.

  3. Conduct a poster campaign. Make posters celebrating heroes including fire fighters, police, airline flight crews, postal workers, emergency medical personnel, nurses and doctors.

  4. Write and conduct a survey. Determine how students or community members feel about America’s response to terrorism and post the results at school and in the local media.

  5. Build a quilt. Ask students to browse newspapers and the Internet for images from the Middle East. Give groups of students pieces of cloth on which to draw, sew, paint, or write. Completed pieces are sewn together into a quilt for display.

  6. Draw a map. Create and display a giant map of the Middle East including national boundaries, terrain, cities, and resources. Research and write short descriptions of relevant information and crucial events and attach them to their geographical positions.

  7. Design an art space. Create a space for students to paint, draw, and construct their thoughts and feelings about the events of September 11 and related subjects. Use the art space as a presentation forum and follow-up to classroom discussions, research projects, town meetings, or teach-ins.

  8. Write a play. Following research and discussion about the Middle East, have students create a play about life in refugee camps in Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or other Middle Eastern countries. Present the play to the school and community.

  9. Poems, journals and letters. Provide opportunities for written expression about terrorism, including journals. Identify issues and have students write letters of concern to local and national elected officials, local newspapers, or United Nations officials. Create a voluntary forum such as a reading or display for students to share their writings.

  10. Gather oral histories. Talk to parents, grandparents, and others from older generations who have experienced previous national and international crises. Ask them to compare their past experiences to their impressions of the current crisis. Transcribe and display or dramatize oral histories.

  11. Locate and arrange to meet with students, teachers, or community members from an Islamic school, advocacy group, or community center to learn about Middle Eastern culture.

  12. Form a study group. Meet with other interested students on a regular basis to research and discuss issues surrounding September 11, terrorism, international relations, Middle Eastern politics and culture, civil liberties in time of war, and more. Create presentations or conduct mentoring sessions with younger students.

*See “Project Ideas: Afghanistan for Kids and Teachers,” from Oxfam America . Oxfam has been providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since 1989.

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