by Lauren Moss, Wangenheim

Students will investigate the experiences of immigrants coming to the United States from the late 1800 to today. They will then place themselves in the shoes of a young teen immigrant, and create a journal based on their experiences, thoughts and feelings. Journals created by the students will cover different immigrant groups throughout this period. Once the journals are completed, the students will have the chance to view the work of their classmates and learn about the similarities and differences in experiences between these immigrant groups. This lesson will end with a reflective class discussion in which students compare and contrast these experiences and discuss why they think they exist. This assignment will help students understand the point of view of different immigrant groups, as well as why their experiences in coming to the United States varied.

Teacher Introduction


This WebQuest has been designed to bring the issue of immigration, throughout United States history, to life for your high school students. It requires students in pairs to explore in depth the experiences of a particular immigrant group (Chinese, Ethiopian, German, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Sudanese and Vietnamese). These groups cover a large period of American history, from the late 1800s to today. However, teaching immigration in this way will make the issue more relevant and interesting to your students. This lesson requires students to synthesize the information the gather in their research to create an illustrated journal in which they write about their experiences and feelings as a teenage immigrant from their particular ethnicity. These journals are to be historically accurate and thoughtful. Then, students will share their completed journals with the rest of the class, in order to teach their classmates about the experiences and lives of their immigrant group. This lesson ends with reflective discussion in which the students compare and contrast the experiences of the different immigrant groups, and bring relevance and meaning to the issue of immigration in our world today.