Curriculum Development

Our curriculum development programs have covered a wide range of approaches and subject matter, including a uniquely rigorous election simulation model developed in collaboration with the teachers of Townsend Harris High School, a city council simulation, and others which have been supported by generous grants from the New York Community Trust, The Council for Economic Education, and Teaching Primary Sources (TPS), a program of the Library of Congress. The Taft curriculum on the events of 9/11/2001, developed in collaboration with the World Trade Center United Families Group, is nationally distributed through Social Studies School Services. During 2016, 2017, and 2018, the Institute has used generous grants from New York City Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Rory Lancman to work with the teachers of Newtown High School and Robert F. Kennedy High School to develop a new curriculum on immigration.   Detailed plans for our simulation games may be found gratis in the Teaching Resources section of this web site.

Current Curriculums

9/11 Curriculum

The Institute’s curriculum on the events of 9/11, developed in intensive collaboration with the World Trade Center United Families group, and written by Professors Zevin and Krasner, is distributed nationally by Social Studies School Service (click here to purchase a copy). The curriculum, which consists of seven lessons, listed below, and two supplementary dvd’s that include interviews with survivors, relatives, and public figures, such as Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. The lessons are as follows:

  • Visualizing 9/11—Photographs and Words
  • The Historian’s Craft—Creating Timelines and Using Personal Narratives
  • The Post-9/11 Recovery Process
  • Designing a 9/11 Memorial
  • Honoring Heroes
  • Advocacy: Civic Action and the Role of Government
  • U.S. National Security and 9/11


As noted in the earlier discussion, the Institute is currently working with the teachers at two New York City high schools—Newtown High School and Robert F. Kennedy High School—to develop a new curriculum on immigration.  Traditional curricula tend to emphasize the experiences of older immigrant groups—Jews, Italians, and Irish, for example—and to emphasize the assimilation model.  Our effort is to create active learning lessons that highlight the experience of newer immigrants and to emphasize the added complexity of immigration in an age of deindustrialization, cutbacks in government programs, and anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions. This program has been generously supported by grants from two New York City Council Members—Daniel Dromm and Rory Lancman.

In the smaller of the two schools, the program has engendered an all-school project that has included the creation of a video highlighting individual experiences and the organization of a multi-cultural day that includes a food court and a talent show.  In the larger school, lesson plans have been designed for one class or multiple classes and have included field trips to Ellis Island and the collection and explication of objects and ephemera associated with the immigration experience.