Paying Tribute

  • Grades 3 to 5
  • Lesson Duration: One Class Period
  • Theme: Memorializing 9/11

Essential Question: What are ways that people memorialized the 9/11 attacks?

Learning Goals

  • Students will be introduced to basic information about the 9/11 attacks.
  • Students will become familiar with the concepts of memorializing and paying tribute.



  • The New Yorker magazine: This weekly publication provides reporting and commentary on politics, foreign affairs, business, technology, popular culture, and the arts, along with humor, fiction, poetry, and cartoons.
  • Memorial: This is a statue or structure established to remind people of a person or event.
  • Tribute: This is an act, statement, or gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration.


    The illustration “Twin Towers” by artist Gürbüz Doğan Ekşioğlu was published on the cover of The New Yorker in 2003 and pays tribute to the Twin Towers by showing an imagined New York City skyline where iconic buildings are appear twice, side by side, in an homage to the Twin Towers, which were destroyed on 9/11.

    “Twin Towers,” 2003, Gürbüz Doğan Ekşioğlu, Courtesy of The New Yorker © Condé Nast

    1.  Project or distribute copies of The New Yorker cover titled “Twin Towers.” Click on the image to use the pinch-and-zoom feature for closer viewing.

    2.  Ask students to look closely at the cover and share what they notice as a class or in small groups.

    3.  Lead a guided inquiry by asking the following questions. Record student observations on a smartboard or chart paper by category.

    4.  Share the following background information with students: 

    The Twin Towers were famous buildings in New York City that people from all over the world could recognize. On September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked, or taken over, by nineteen terrorists and flown into important buildings. Two of those planes were flown into the Twin Towers. The damage caused both towers to collapse or fall down. This forever changed the skyline of New York City.

    5.  Ask students: How does this cover help us to remember the Twin Towers? 

    6.  Tell students that there is a special name for places that help us remember—they’re called memorials. A memorial is one way to pay tribute or show respect.

    7.  Tell students that the 9/11 Memorial opened on September 11, 2011, 10 years after the attacks. The Memorial is meant to remember the victims of 9/11, and one way it does so is through the “Birthday Roses” program, which places white roses in the names of the victims on their birthdays.

    8.  View the video below that talks about this program. Following the video, ask students how they think this program honors those killed on 9/11.

    • Describe what you see on this cover.
    • What do you notice about the buildings?
    • Do you recognize any of the buildings? Which ones?
    • Where does this take place? How can you tell?
    • When was this cover made?

    Video: Mission to Remember Series: Birthday Roses

    Birthday Rose

    9.  End by asking students to brainstorm all the ways that they can show respect and pay tribute to the victims of 9/11.