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Immigration History Research Center
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Lesson Plans K-12

Created by Chris DiSalvi

6th Grade U.S. History                                                                                                                

MN State Standard: Standard I: U.S. History Sub-Strand G: Reshaping the Nation and the Emergence of Modern America 1877-1916

NCSS Standard: Standard IV-Individual Development and Identity

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
1

Introduction (Part I)

Anticipatory Set: Students recall 1st day at middle school.

Analyze picture of immigrant family in small groups

Body: In small groups students explain reasons for immigration and being new at a school.

Closure: Students realize few differences between immigrants and “new kids” through Venn Diagram.

Materials: “Mother and Child” photo, projector, marker, and markerboard.  

Introduction (Part II)

Anticipatory Set: Responses from previous day’s homework in a “Think Pair Share” activity.

Body: Students will analyze lyrics and themes from Bruce Springsteen’s song, “American Land,” from the album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions: American Land Edition.

Closure: Students will be assigned to groups of five to work on the summative assessment. The song will be a way to get students to think about how they would like to demonstrate immigration issues.

Materials: Springteen’s “American Land,” handouts of song’s lyrics, the students homework

Maps of Immigration Patterns

Anticipatory Set: “How far is the mall from my home?” The teacher will model how to measure distances between landmarks in the city using maps, map scales, and strings.

Body: Students will work with partners to measure the distance between Minnesota and certain countries that had large amount emigration waves. In order for students to do this, they will have to find the country’s location in their textbook, color it in the blank world map copy I give them, and measure the distance from the country to Minnesota with the scale provided.

Closure: Students will write one paragraph on how they would feel (or how they do feel) about leaving family and friends in their home country to come to the U.S.

Materials: String, handouts of world maps, city maps, rulers, and textbooks.    

Patterns of Immigrant Movements

Anticipatory Set: “How many people live in the U.S?” Students are given ways to conceptualize how big a number, and population, 250,000,000 is. (Example: if each person in the U.S. could give one dollar to feed the homeless in Africa, they could feed a small village for 20 years.)

Body: The students are given math models to figure out population growth over the years. Example: 40 million people born outside the U.S lived in the country in 1970. Each year after 1970, 1 million just from immigration and from immigrants having children. How “non-native” Americans will live in the U.S. in 2020?

(Note: These are hypothetical figures.) Students work in groups of 4-5 in order to solve problems and observe the students work.

Closure: Students must write one paragraph individually about this prompt: “What does it mean when we say that America is predominantly a nation of immigrants?”

Resources: Data from U.S. Census Bureau, loose leaf paper for students, and calculators

English Immigrants of 1600s

Anticipatory Set: The teacher begins with a simulation by telling students that country music is the best music in the world and will be the only form of music students will listen to at the end of the year. 

The teacher ends it by explaining this argument between the king and the pilgrims about what they should believe caused them to leave for North America.

Body: The students are given primary sources about what Pilgrims hope to accomplish in North America. There they have post-it note conversations with a partner about what they think the paragraph was about.

The teacher will then lead large discussion about significance of pilgrim’s quote.

Closure: Students are told to write two paragraphs about one thing society tells them to do on a daily basis that bugs them the most. (Example: Boys not crying).  The other paragraph would be if the students had a chance, and cost was not an issue, would they leave the country over it.

2

West African Immigration during the 17th and 18th Century.

Anticipatory Set: Teacher reads a paragraph about West African culture before appearance of white people.

Body: Students are divided into groups of 5 and go around room reading selected passages about various stages in African “immigration”

Group 1: African reaction to Europeans arriving in Africa.

Group 2: Description of triangle trade transportation for Africans.

Group 3: Students read about a slave auction.

Group 4: Paragraph about treatment of African slaves from Incidents of a Slave Girl.

Group 5: Reaction of Fredrick Douglass when he achieves freedom in autobiography.

Closure: Students write about the contrast between English immigration and African immigration in one paragraph.

Materials: Incidents of a Slave Girl, Autobiography of Fredrick Douglass, a book on Western African history, and books on the African slave trade.

Mass European Migration from 1850-1930 (Day 1)

Anticipatory Set: Teachers read propaganda meant to encourage Europeans to come to the U.S.

Body: Students read about the different economic conditions in countries such as Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Finland. Each student will be assigned to a group of 3. One quarter of the groups will get readings on Italy, one quarter on Poland, one quarter on Finland, and one quarter on Ireland. Students will take turns reading excerpts from their reading and write what they have learned on a guided practice worksheet. Once everyone has finished their reading, students will discuss what they have read in a large class discussion.

Closure: Students will write one paragraph on how natural resources cause people to flee leave their homeland.

Materials: Primary documents about the lack of resources and opportunities in each country from the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the Andersen Library and teacher created handouts to guide the students reading.

Mass European Migration from 1850-1930

(Day 2)

Anticipatory set: The teacher reads a copy of an immigrant’s letter to his/her family discussing the hardships they have faced in “land of opportunity.”

Body: Same style as previous day, but this time, students will get readings about Know Nothing Party, Ku Klux Klan, industrial workplace conditions, and inspection process at Ellis Island. Each reading will be accompanied by a guided practice worksheet. Afterwards, students will discuss what they have read.

Closure: Students will write a dialogue poem with a partner about what immigrants thought before and after coming to the United States.

Materials: Primary documents from the IHRC and reading worksheet.

Formative Assessment

Anticipatory Set: Students will get into small groups to and receive the project syllabus.

Body: Students discuss what has affected them so far in the class. Additionally, they will begin to write the roles each member will play in the skit.

Closure: Each group will hand in a copy of what has inspired the group so far and an outline of how they plan to write their final presentation.

Materials: Syllabus, grouped desks for students to communicate.

20th Century Latino Immigration

Anticipatory Set: Teacher begins with Kohlberg’s moral development scenario about a man stealing drugs a pharmacist’s drugs because he can not afford the drugs necessary to save his wife’s life. Ask students how they would respond in this situation.

Body: Students read two articles. First, they read an article about how poverty level in some areas of Latin America and the determination of some immigrants to leave this environment. Second, the students will read how INS Border Patrol and citizen border patrol groups are determined to deport “illegals” back to homeland.

Closure: Have students write down if their opinion has changed about the man who steals drugs to save his wife by reading these two articles and how it relates to what they have read.

Important note: Teacher MUST discuss that not all Latino immigrants that enter the country do so illegally. Obviously, many people enter the country according to federal law. Thus, it is important not to offend anyone in the class who may believe that the teacher is insinuating that all Latinos are “illegals” in the lesson.

Materials: Sternberg, Robert J. and Wendy M. Williams. Educational Psychology. 2nd 3d. New York: Allyn and Bacon, 2009. Print. (See: Kohlberg’s moral theory). Other required materials include a current newspaper article regarding border patrol, and an article on Latin American poverty.

3

Hmong Immigration from 1970s-Present

Anticipatory Set: The teacher shows on a map where Laos is located. Gives brief history on the Vietnam War and Secret War in Laos.

Body: Students will read excerpts from memoirs of Hmong adults who migrated from Laos to the U.S.

Closure: Students will write 3 specific difficulties adults faced emigrating from Laos to the U.S.

Materials: World map, a Hmong memoir on life before, during, and after secret war.

Current Somali Immigration

Anticipatory Set: The teacher will begin by reading a passage about Somalia’s rich cultural history. Then teacher will read with the class a recent world report on current events in Somalia.

Body: Students will look at recent pictures of villages in Somalia during the war. (Note: These pictures will be carefully selected to make sure there are no excessive displays of blood, gore or other things that the school board or parents may object to).

Closure: Students will write an internal dialogue poem about how Somali ancestors would feel after seeing the current events in Somalia.

Materials: Somali history book and photos and articles about current Somali Civil War.

Formative Assessment

The class will have the hour to create their immigration skits. During class, the teacher will roam throughout the room observing the work of each group and answering any questions that come up. Students should have finished a rough draft of the skit by the end of the day.

Materials: Open classroom areas for students to practice and extra rubrics in case somebody loses their rubric.

Formative Assessment

Anticipatory Set: The teacher will take questions open-ended questions regarding the summative assessment

Body: Each group will show the teacher their skit and demonstrate how they will present it.

Closure: Students will use the rest of the time to rehearse and make last adjustments to their scripts.

Materials: Students scripts, open areas for students to practice.

Summative Assessment

 Students will present their skits for the class.

Materials: Open space at the front of the room and students scripts.