Lesson Plan

Immigration Analysis

An exploration of American perspectives on 19th and 20th century immigration.
Amy K.
Classroom teacher
Cornell Senior High School
Coraopolis, United States
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My Grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

  • Record observations of a primary source document
  • Make connections/reflections based on prior knowledge
  • Develop questions about a primary source document
  • Draw conclusions about Immigration in America based on their primary source document
Social Studies
Grades 7 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Step 1: Hook

Activity: Investigating

Teacher will: 

2 Step 2: Direct Instruction

Activity: Conversing

After students complete their observations, explain to students that when they encounter an unknown source they should be doing a number of things including: 

  • Observing: listing things that they see that are factual/observable
  • Reflecting: listing things they *think* might be going on in the document and making connections to prior knowledge
  • Questioning: Creating questions about what might be going on in the document

Teacher will: 

  • Project an image of the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis tool OR create one using large flip-chart pages
  • Ask students to decide in which of the 3 categories (observe, reflect, question) their post-its belong
  • Instruct students to stick their post-it on the correct category on the board (you might want to model with a few brave students first)
  • Review the post-its in each category and discuss what is going on in the image you chose
  • Check for misconceptions and prompt for prior knowledge as students review the post-it observations

3 Step 3: Independent Practice

Teacher will: 

  • Create an Edmodo assignment: 

Follow this link: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/immigra... and choose a primary source that sticks out to you. Analyze the document with the digital Primary Source Analysis Tool: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/primary-source-analysis-tool/ In the "Further Investigastion" box, write (in complete sentences) one thing you learned from the source ABOUT US immigration, and one burning question you would like to investigate further. When you are finished, download the tool to your desktop, and upload your tool to Edmodo to turn in the assignment. 

*another option would be to assign each source to a student so there's no overlap and all sources are used. This might depend on a teacher's class size and ability level. 

Student Instructions

 Students will: 

  • Log onto the class Edmodo and read the assignment details
  • Click on the LOC link and choose a primary source
  • Complete the Primary Source Analysis Tool (linked in the Edmodo assignment)
  • Click "download" at the bottom of the tool and download the paper to their desktop
  • Go back to Edmodo and upload the assignment 

4 Step 4: Wrap Up

Activity: Conversing

Bring whole class back together, and share some of the things studens learned from their tools. This activity can be expanded based on your time, age group, and ability level by: 

  • Grouping students and having them compare sources and their analyis for each source
  • Creating a class discussion on Edmodo to share observations within and/or across classes 
  • Creating a class padlet or other pinboard linking the documents 
  • Having students write about the life of an immigrant based on their document
  • Create a "perspectives wheel" on the board with the topic "immigration" in the center and the different types of people impacted by immigration on the spokes (politicians, landlords, workers, employers, schools, etc.) and have students take a perspective that fits with their document and give their point of view on the topic