In this lesson, students will explore the history of United States immigrants. In the Introductory Activity, students will identify their own countries of heritage, as well as those of their classmates. Students will then identify ethnic groups that migrated to the United States during various historic “waves” of immigration. In the Learning Activities, students will explore video segments to develop an understanding of key motivations for immigration, and explore online resources to examine specific immigrant experiences from various points in American history. In the Culminating Activity, students will utilize their historical knowledge and examination of case studies to develop a brief narrative summarizing the experiences, aspirations, and emotions of a hypothetical immigrant to the United States in the past or the present.
The activities in this lesson plan have been designed for students in grades 5-7. Time allotment is approximately three 45-minute periods for the entire unit. For a printer-friendly version, download here.
This lesson plan was adapted for the original PBS program Faces of America. If you would like to borrow the program from the WGBY Video Lending Library, its Library ID is 1986; check it out from the WGBY Lending Library website.
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