Activity Overview

The 5Ws are a powerful and simple way for students to get an overview of a topic and better enhance their understanding. By creating a spider map or narrative storyboard that showcases the 5Ws, students can demonstrate their knowledge using concise descriptions and visual scenes. Giving students a visual with each category helps students to better understand and remember the details and importance of the topic.

When learning about the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of 9/11, students may need teachers to provide a variety of age appropriate resources. After reading The Red Bandanna or Towers Falling and learning more about 9/11, students will create a spider map to explain the 5Ws about September 11, 2001. They will create scenes and a short description to answer the following questions: What was 9/11? When did 9/11 happen? Who was affected by it? Where did it occur? Why did it happen?

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a spider map that answers the following questions about 9/11: What was 9/11? When did 9/11 occur? Who was affected by it? Where did it occur? Why did it happen?

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the description boxes, write a concise statement that answers the question.
  3. Create a picture for each cell using appropriate scenes, characters, and items to illustrate your answer.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/WHST/6-8/2/B] Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

5 Points
3 Points
1 Points
The descriptions are clear and at least two sentences.
The descriptions can be understood but it are somewhat unclear.
The descriptions are unclear and are not at least two sentences.
The illustrations represent the descriptions using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
The illustrations relate to the descriptions, but are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the descriptions.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are mostly correct.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are somewhat correct.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are mostly incorrect.

How To Use the 5Ws To Analyze a Topic


Introduce the Concept

Introduce the concept of using the 5Ws to students and how they can use these questions to analyze to find more critical information about any topic. Discuss in detail how each question (Why, When, Who, Where, and What) is used in different situations and how students can mould these questions according to different topics.


Choose a Topic

Teachers can either make a list of topics that students can select to work on or students can choose an interesting topic on their own and get it approved by the teacher. After the topic has been selected, teachers can give a brief guideline to students on how they can use the 5Ws and what are the end objectives of this activity.


Encourage Participation in Group Conversations

Divide the class into smaller groups, and have each group use the 5Ws to analyze a different subject. Encourage them to work together and present their research to the class. If students work in groups of 5 then each student can pick one question to focus on and in the end, the group can combine their analysis.


Assign Projects to Individuals or Groups

Ask the students to make a chart for the 5Ws that they will use to explain their topic to the rest of the class in an engaging way. Students can do this activity in groups or individually. This visual activity will keep them engaged and introduce them to new ways of learning.


Consider and Debate Understanding

Have a class discussion about the learnings from the 5Ws analysis to wrap up the assignment. Encourage your students to talk about anything that confused them or was particularly fascinating. Guide the students to always use this concept when they want to find out more information about a particular topic.

Frequently Asked Questions About Identify the 5 Ws of 9/11

What were some instant impacts or repercussions of the attack on the towers?

The 9/11 attacks had immediate negative effects on the economy, the loss of life, substantial property damage, and overall national security. It also had a grave impact on the culture, the society as a whole, and relationships with other countries especially in the Middle East region. A great sense of national togetherness as well as general shock and sadness were also brought on by the assaults.

Why did the 9/11 attacks take place?

The terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, which was headed by Osama bin Laden, was called responsible for the 9/11 attacks. They were motivated by an extremely radical ideology that opposed American foreign policy and the country's involvement in the Middle East.

This Activity is Part of Many Teacher Guides

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