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Construction Starts on Freedom Tower



  • Arts & Humanities
  • Math
  • Social Studies
    ----U.S. History


Grades 2-up

News Content

A new tower at the site of the former World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the U.S. when it is completed in 2011.

Anticipation Guide

Before introducing this week's News for KIDS article, share with students this image of the Freedom Tower. (If you cannot project the image directly from your computer, simply print it out and share the printed image.) Ask: Can anyone identify this building? Where in the world is this building located? If no one identifies the building and its location, tell students that this is the Freedom Tower, which is being constructed on the former site of the World Trade Center. Then share this week's News for KIDS article so everyone can learn more about the building.

News Words

Introduce the words from the News Word box on the students' printable page. Talk about the meanings of the words, have students use them in sentences, and then ask them to identify the number of syllables in each word: construction (3), spire (1), terrorists (3), destroyed (2), observation (4), elevators (4), height (1), design (2), and concrete (2).

Read the News

Click for a printable version of this week's news story Construction Starts on Freedom Tower.

Reading the News

You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

* Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

* Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.

* Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

More Facts to Share

You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this week's news story.

  • The Freedom Tower's unique design brings together eight even-sided triangles. (That element of its design is more clearly visible in this illustration.) If viewed from one angle, the Freedom Tower might look rectangular, like the Twin Towers. If viewed from another angle it will look like an obelisk, a large pillar that tapers to a point. If viewed from above, the Tower will seem to twist, but that is just an optical illusion.
  • The original design of the Freedom Tower was completed by architect Daniel Libeskind in 2003. However, that design had to be reworked because of security concerns. Now the tower's glass obelisk will sit atop a base building that has been designed to withstand the blast of a street-level truck bomb. That base will include a concrete core that houses elevators, stairways, communication systems, gas and water lines, and an emergency fireman's lift. Emergency items -- such as generators, ventilators, and water -- will also be kept in the core. The core will be covered with titanium and stainless panels.
  • At 1,776 feet tall, the new tower will be taller than the Empire State Building; at 1,250 feet, the ESB has been the tallest building in New York City since the Twin Towers were destroyed. Freedom Tower will also be taller than the Sears Tower in Chicago, which, at 1,450 feet, is the tallest building in the United States today. Currently, the world's tallest building is located in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan; that building, called Taipei 101, is 1,670 feet tall. A building that will be taller than that -- and taller than the Freedom Tower -- is under construction in Dubai, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. According to some estimates, the height of that building might exceed 2,500 feet.
  • The Freedom Tower is symbolic in many ways. It will honor the former World Trade Center towers by being exactly the same height as they were: 1,360 feet. A spire atop the building will bring the building's total height to 1,776 feet. That number represents the year the American Revolution began, the war in which America won its freedom from England. It is also the year in which America's Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
  • The World Trade Center site was home to many buildings that collapsed or had to be demolished as a result of the September 11 attacks. The Freedom Tower is being built on the northern end of the site. The only other activity at the site at this time is construction of a memorial to the victims of the attacks; that memorial, which is being built at the southern end of the site, is due to be completed in 2009. Plans are also underway to build three buildings along the site's eastern edge. One of those buildings will be a 950-foot tower.
  • Government agencies and some businesses are expected to rent office space in the tower when it is completed.

Comprehension Check

Ask students to identify whether each of the following statements is true or false. If the statement is false, have students identify how it might be edited to make it true.

  • Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1776. (false, they attacked the WTC on September 11, 2001)
  • The new building will be called the Twin Tower. (false, it will be called the Freedom Tower)
  • The Freedom Tower will be completed in 2009. (false, it will be completed in 2011)
  • The Freedom Tower and its spire will rise 1,368 feet from the ground. (false, including the spire the height will be 1,776 feet)
  • The glass part of the Freedom Tower will sit atop an 82-foot-tall base. (false, the base will be 200 feet tall)

Recalling Detail

  • Why was it decided to build a building (including its spire) that would rise exactly 1,776 feet? (that number is symbolic of America's freedom; the U.S said it wanted to be free from England in 1776)
  • Why did New York police insist that changes be made to the tower's original 2003 design? (they wanted to improve the safety of the building; protect it as much as possible from attack)
  • Describe the base of the new Freedom Tower. (It is made from concrete and covered with metal; it includes a concrete core that will protect the building's elevators and stairwells from harm)

Think About the News
Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students' news page. In addition, you might discuss this question: Some people did not want another tall building built where the World Trade Center used to be because they were afraid it will be a target for terrorists. Do you agree or disagree that building a new building there is a good idea?

Follow-Up Activities

Math. Write the following information on a chart and have students do the math to figure out the difference in height between each building and the next tallest one. (Answers appear in parentheses; do not include that information on the chart.)

  • Empire State Building (New York City) -- 1,250 feet tall (112 feet shorter than the)
  • Two International Financial Center (Hong Kong) -- 1,362 feet tall (19 feet shorter than the)
  • Jin Mao Center (Shanghai) -- 1,381 feet tall (69 feet shorter than the)
  • Sears Tower (Chicago) -- 1,450 feet tall (33 feet shorter than the)
  • Petronas Towers (Malaysia) -- 1,483 feet tall (31 feet shorter than the)
  • Taipei 101 (Taiwan) -- 1,670 feet tall (106 feet shorter than the)
  • Freedom Tower (New York City, under construction) -- 1,776 feet tall (which will be shorter that the)
  • Burj Dubai (United Arab Emirates, under construction) -- ??? Its height is being kept a closely guarded secret, but some estimates put it at more than 2,500 feet tall)
Computer Center. Have students use this World's Tallest Buildings diagram in a learning center. Have them answer questions that you create about information in the diagram as they view the diagram on the screen. Sample questions:
  • In what year was the Sears Tower in Chicago completed? (1974)
  • How much taller will the Freedom Tower be than Taipei 101? (106 feet)
  • Which of the skyscrapers on the diagram contains the world's highest hotel rooms? (the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai)


Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

National Standards

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Measurement
GRADES Pre-K - 2
NM-MEA.PK-2.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.PK-2.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-MEA.3-5.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.3-5.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-MEA.6-8.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.6-8.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements
GRADES 9 - 12
NM-MEA.9-12.1 Understand Measurable Attributes of Objects and the Units, Systems, and Processes of Measurement
NM-MEA.9-12.2 Apply Appropriate Techniques, Tools, and Formulas to Determine Measurements

MATHEMATICS: Connections
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.10 Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present)

See recent news stories in Education World's News Story of the Week Archive.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2006 Education World