Remembering 9/11
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"Who is Osama bin Laden?"

Students have heard mention of Osama bin Laden countless times, and this activity will help them to learn who he actually is. In this activity they will review an extensive Web site from the PBS program Frontline describing his life and the actions of his terrorist network, al-Qaeda.

Lesson Description
Students will read details on bin Laden under several headings from the Web site. Each heading contains articles and interviews on its topic. Students will then answer four questions drawn from information on the Web site. Following the questions is an activity that will allow students to collect much of the information on bin Laden and al-Qaeda into a graphic organizer.

Instructional Objectives:

  1. Students will identify key events in the life of Osama bin Laden and the development of his terrorist network, al-Qaeda.
  2. Students will be able to trace the chain of terrorist events that started in the early 1990s.
Student Web Activity Answers
  1. On August 7, 1998, the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, were bombed by al-Qaeda terrorists. These two cities are in East Africa.
  2. al-Qaeda is accused of bombing the USS Cole while it was in Yemen. The USS Cole is a U.S. Navy warship that was refueling in a port when a small boat loaded with explosives pulled up alongside it. Suicide bombers on the small boat detonated the bomb, killing themselves and 17 Americans.
  3. Answers should include Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Sudan. bin Laden was often forced to move from one country to another when he was no longer welcome. Afghanistan became his most permanent home in the 1990s when the Taliban government gave him refuge. It was this policy of the Taliban that brought Afghanistan under U.S. attack in October 2001.
  4. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was in charge of those investigations. Since the terrorist attacks were against Americans, they became a domestic affair.
  5. Timelines should contain information from the Web site. Suggest to students that they include world events to provide a context for the terrorist events, such as the end of the Cold War.
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