Immigration to the United States: Activities for Elementary School Classrooms is comprised of six lessons for grades kindergarten through five. The primary grade lessons focus on concepts such as “why people move” and the immigrant experience in the United States, while the upper elementary lessons address the more complex issues of push and pull factors of group migration, the impact of immigration, and immigration law within the United States. The lessons address specific social studies and language arts standards and incorporate literature, original artwork, primary sources, debate, critical thinking, persuasive writing, and more.
The Kindergarten lesson introduces students to the experience of moving to new places, and the different modes of transportation that people use to move and travel around the world. Students compare and contrast transportation methods of the past and present, and explore the connections between terrain and transportation.
The Grade One lesson introduces the concept of why people move and explores the results of their moves. Students examine the reasons people move through guided discussions, interdisciplinary art, reading and writing activities, cooperative groups, and family interviews.
The Grade Two lesson introduces students to the immigrant experience on Angel Island. Through activities that compare and contrast and touch upon kinesthetic learning modalities, students explore the purposes of borders and ports of entry, examine literature and photographs, and role-play a border entry interrogation.
The Grade Three lesson introduces students to domestic and international migration and the “push” and “pull” factors that influence large populations of people to move. This lesson engages students in cooperative group work, art and object lessons, historical analysis, and literature.
The Grade Four lesson introduces students to five short graphic novels about immigrant experiences in the United States, and explores why people to choose to immigrate to the U.S. from their home countries. Students learn to differentiate between fact and opinion, understand positive and negative perceptions of immigration, and engage in an interactive mock debate activity.
The Grade Five lesson introduces students to the reasons why the United States opens and closes its borders to people from different countries at different points in history. Students also explore more complex immigration issues, such as citizenship and refugees, while applying their research and presentation skills.