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Primary sources and questions for a unit on immigration to the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Photo, Member of the International Institute for Immigrant Girls. . . , LoC

Primary source documents and statistical tables about immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries anchor this lesson. Analytical questions about the documents and the tables require students to draw conclusions from the data, as well as evaluate opinions regarding immigration as expressed in the primary sources.

These materials are supplemented by Digital History’s larger Immigration Learning Module which provides many hyperlinks to additional primary sources including a timeline and documents. (NOTE: To access these documents, paste the title of the document into the search field when you arrive at the Library of Congress Learning Page.)

Links to primary source sets from the Library of Congress and other features of the Ethnic America section of the Digital History site are also provided.

Overall we feel that the basic lesson plan provides an excellent set of teaching materials, but we encourage you to explore the interrelated hyperlinks of the Learning Module to find additional materials that will inspire you and your students.

Teachinghistory.org Lesson Plan Rubric
Field Criteria Comments
Historical Content Is historically accurate?


Includes historical background?

Much information is available on the website. In addition, Digital History’s online textbook provides detailed background information on the topic.

Requires students to read and write?


Analytic Thinking Requires students to analyze or construct interpretations using evidence

In the basic lesson students are asked to draw conclusions from immigration data. Other documents that you may decide to use such as this one from Digital History’s online textbook may elicit student analysis and interpretation as well.

Requires close reading and attention to source information?


Scaffolding Is appropriate for stated audience?

While no specific audience is stated, we feel the basic lesson and accompanying questions are suitable for middle school. Other materials on the site may be useful for all grade levels.

Includes materials and strategies for scaffolding and supporting student thinking?

Teachers will want to provide some scaffolds of their own to help students understand and interpret texts and data tables.

Lesson Structure Includes assessment criteria and strategies that focus on historical understanding?

No assessment criteria are included. As teachers define their goals for this lesson they will have to determine how to assess student learning.

Defines clear learning goals and progresses logically?

Teachers must provide structure and goals for this lesson.

Includes clear directions and is realistic in normal classroom settings?

The basic lesson is unstructured, but the questions and activities are clearly presented. It would be easy to use these materials to teach about immigration in normal classroom settings.