Lesson Plan Feature: They’re Coming to America: Immigrants Past and Present

March’s celebration of Irish heritage be a good introduction to this lesson  where grades 5-7 explore the history of our nation of immigrants.  In the Introductory Activity, they identify their own and classmates’ countries of heritage.  Then they identify ethnic groups that migrated to the United States during various historic waves of immigration. In the Learning Activities, students watch video segments from Faces of America to develop an understanding of key motivations for immigration and explore online resources to examine specific immigrant experiences from various points in American history. The Culminating Activity asks students to use their historical knowledge and examination of case studies to develop a brief narrative summarizing the experiences, aspirations, and emotions of an hypothetical immigrant from the past or present.

In three 45-minute periods, students:

  • Articulate that the United States is a nation of immigrants, and that America’s immigrant past is reflected in our language, culture, and traditions
  • Identify their own countries of heritage on a world map
  • Describe the historic waves of immigration to the U. S. and the countries related to those waves
  • Explain motivations and rationale for immigration to the U. S.  at various points through its history
  • Provide specific examples of historic and contemporary immigrant experiences
  • Compare the experiences of historic and contemporary immigrants to the U. S.

The comprehensive lesson provides rich media resources, class materials, websites and more!

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