America Responds
Rescue workers raising the flag
Grieving man
Rescue workers
President and Mrs. Bush
Classroom Resources
A Nation of Many Cultures

Grade Level: Elementary (K-5)
Estimated Time: Three 1/2-hour classroom sessions; one homework assignment

Lesson Overview:
Invite students to create a visual representation of themselves to include their family, heritage, and interests. Use these creations to compare and contrast similarities and differences. Create a display of the art work in the form of a U.S. Flag

Related National Standards from McREL:

  • Understands that people are alike in many ways and different in many ways
  • Understands that people might feel uncomfortable around other people who dress, talk, or act very differently from themselves
  • Understands that various factors (e.g., interests, capabilities, values) contribute to the shaping of a person's identity
  • Knows that human beings have different interests, motivations, skills, and talents


  • Paper: Plain or notebook; red, and white construction
  • Venn Diagram
  • Blue poster board
  • Art supplies
  • Magazines, newspapers, and/or photographs
  1. Begin by addressing the fact that the United States of America is made up of people from many different cultures and nations. Include a conversation that defines the factors of culture to include race, religion, etc. Discuss some of the different cultures represented in the classroom and school. Brainstorm images or ideas that accurately represent these cultures.

  2. Homework: Ask students to prepare either a poem or collage that represents themselves. Be sure to include family, home, nationality, and interests. Poems or collages should fit on an 8 1/2" by 11" or smaller piece of paper. Teacher may choose to have all poems, all collages, or a mix.

  3. Create a Venn Diagram on a standard piece of blue poster board. (approximately 18" X 27") Use the collages and poems to compare and contrast the similarities and differences of the students. The middle of the diagram should represent the similarities in the class. The outer rings can be used collectively to represent differences.

  4. Discuss the similarities and differences of the students. Do the students feel comfortable around everyone, or do they tend to congregate with those most like them? Are these congregations based on culture, interests, neighborhood, age, gender, or other factors?

  5. Post the Venn Diagram in the upper left hand corner of a bulletin board or wall. Glue each collage or poem to red or white construction paper. Arrange the now backed collages or poems to the right of and below the blue Venn Diagram to form the stripes of the American Flag.

Student understanding should be assessed through:

  • contribution to class discussion and activity
  • successful completion of collage or poem

PBS Primetime Coverage
PBS provided nightly coverage and analysis of the terrorist attacks on the United States with "America Responds."

Key PBS Resources:

Online NewsHour
Ongoing coverage and analysis.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Helping children cope.