Coming to America ~ Lesson Plan
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LESSON TITLE: Coming to America
GRADE LEVEL: Grades 9-12
TIME ALLOTMENT: Two or three 45-minute class periods
The 2012 series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores major historical events through the ancestries of prominent Americans. In Episode 8, Dr. Gates explores the family histories of comedienne and actress Margaret Cho; neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta; and author and television personality Martha Stewart. Each prominent individual is either a first- or second-generation American, and each individual’s family came to live in the United States due to conflict in their homelands.
This hands-on, media-enhanced lesson explores why groups of people leave their native countries, often to come to the United States, and what major historical milestones prompted mass migrations. In the Introductory Activity, students look at immigration to the United States from 1880-2000 and hypothesize as to the reasons for large influxes of groups of people. In the Learning Activity, students learn about the family histories of Cho, Gupta, and Stewart, and explore why each person’s family left his/her homeland and the historical milestones surrounding each departure. In the Culminating Activity, students will explore 10 events or topics that were or led to mass migrations, and they will discuss the similarities and differences surrounding each topic/event.
World History; Social Studies; American History
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Describe reasons behind movements of peoples due to historical events.
- Discuss historical milestones in India, Korea, and Poland that led to mass exoduses from each country and compare and contrast the milestones.
- Describe the impact of migrations using information from a map or chart.
- Analyze the similarities and differences among mass migrations in history.
Key Ideas and Details
- Grades 9-10: RH.9-10.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information. Grades 11-12: RH.11-12.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- Grades 9-10: RH.9-10.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text. Grades 11-12: RH.11-12.2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
- Grades 9-10: RH.9-10.3. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
- Grades 11-12: RH.11-12.3. Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
- Grades 9-10: RH.9-10.7. Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
- Grades 9-10: RH.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.-
- Grades 11-12: RH.11-12.9. Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
- World History Era 6
- Standard 6A: The student understands major global trends from 1450 to 1770. Therefore, the student is able to:
- Describe major shifts in world demography and urbanization in this era and analyze reasons for these changes.
- Analyze ways in which expanding capitalistic enterprise and commercialization affected relations among states and contributed to changing class and race relations.
- World History Era 7
- Standard 5B: The student understands the causes and consequences of European settler colonization in the 19th century. Therefore, the student is able to:
- Explain why migrants left Europe in large numbers in the 19th century and identify temperate regions of the world where they established or expanded frontiers of European settlement.
- Analyze geographical, political, economic, and epidemiological factors contributing to the success of European colonial settlement in such regions as Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Algeria, Siberia, Canada, and the United States.
- Standard 6A: The student understands major global trends from 1750 to 1914. Therefore, the student is able to:
- Describe major shifts in world population and urbanization in this era and analyze how such factors as industrialization, migration, changing diets, and scientific and medical advances affected worldwide demographic trends.
- Describe major patterns of long-distance migration of Europeans, Africans, and Asians and analyze causes and consequences of these movements.
Finding Your Roots, Episode 8, selected segments
Access the video segments for this lesson at the Video Segments Page.
Clip 1: “The Partition of India”
The history of the India/Pakistan partition is told through the story of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s mother’s experience.
Clip 2: “A Hurried Escape”
Margaret Cho learns the reasons for her father’s family’s hurried escape from northern Korea when he was ten years old.
Clip 3: “Leaving Poland”
Martha Stewart learns the fate of her great grandparents and comes to understand why much of her family ended up in America.
This interactive map shows the foreign-born populations in the United States by decade, from 1880-2000.
For the class:
- One computer with projection capabilities for viewing video segments and The New York Times website.
- One copy of “Exodus and Upheaval” Student Organizer Answer Key
For each student:
- One copy of “Foreign-Born Trends” Student Organizer
- One copy of “Exodus and Upheaval” Student Organizer
- One copy of “Mass Migrations in History” Student Organizer
PREP FOR TEACHERS
Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:
Preview all of the video segments used in the lesson. Prepare to watch them using your classroom’s Internet connection.
Bookmark all websites which you plan to use in the lesson on each computer in your classroom. Using a social bookmarking tool such as del.icio.us or diigo (or an online bookmarking utility such as portaportal) will allow you to organize all the links in a central location.
Print one copy each of “Exodus and Upheaval” Student Organizer Answer Key and “Mass Migrations in History” Student Organizer Answer Key for the class. For each student, print one copy of “Foreign-Born Trends” Student Organizer, one copy of “Exodus and Upheaval” Student Organizer, and one copy of “Mass Migrations in History” Student Organizer.
Proceed to Lesson Activities.