Adult Ed
Migration and Immigration in the United States: Three Case Studies


OverviewActivities

Activity 1: Hypothesizing Reasons for Migration and Immigration
Activity 2: Reading About Migration and Immigration
Activity 3: Visualizing History by Creating Time Lines and Filling in Maps
Activity 4: Hypothesizing Cause and Effect / Making Generalizations About Their Meaning
Extensions

Activity 1: Hypothesizing Reasons for Migration and Immigration

Preparation: Write on newsprint the list of questions used in step four of this activity.

Steps:

Step 1 Write the words "migration" and "immigration" on the board and tell the students they will spend the next several weeks learning about the migration or immigration experiences of three different cultural groups in the United States.


Step 2 Ask the class to hypothesize differences between the two terms "migration" and "immigration." As the class defines each term, refine their responses if needed, and write the definitions on the blackboard next to the appropriate term.


Step 3 Divide the class into three groups and distribute sheets of newsprint to each of the groups. Ask groups to 1) draw two columns on one of the sheets of newsprint, one with the heading "Immigration" and one with the heading "Migration"; 2) think of as many cultural groups as they can who have either migrated as a group from one place to another within the United States, or immigrated to the United States from someplace else, and to place the names of groups in the appropriate column; 3) next to the names of each group have them list reasons why that group either migrated within or migrated to America.

Step 4 On another sheet of newsprint, ask students to choose one of the groups they came up with for which to answer the following questions (prepare questions in advance to post on the wall):
  • What kinds of opportunities did these migrants or immigrants face as a result of their move?
  • What obstacles did they face while immigrating or migrating? Why?
  • How do you think other cultural groups reacted to their migration or immigration? Why?
  • How do you think the United States changed as a result of their migration or immigration? Why?


Step 5 When students have completed steps three and four, have them post their newsprint on the walls of the class. Then reconvene as a class and ask groups to report back. Elicit from students, or point out as necessary, similarities and differences among the groups' hypotheses.

Step 6 Tell students they will be exploring three different cases of early migration or immigration, those of the Native Americans, African Americans, and British colonists. Have students to sign up to study one of these groups.

Homework: Ask students to interview a) a person they know who either immigrated to this country or has relatives who immigrated to the country, and b) someone who has migrated from one part of the country to another. Have them ask both interviewees the questions listed in step 4. At the next class have students report their findings, either in pairs or groups and to list similarities and differences of responses from migrants / immigrants.


Activity 2: Reading About Migration and Immigration

Steps:

Step 1 Ask each student to write in his or her notebook three questions about the community s/he has signed up to study, and three things about that community.


Step 2 Divide the class into groups based on the community they have signed up to research and distribute sheets of newsprint to each group. Ask students to share their knowledge and their questions in their groups and to compile a list on one of the sheets of newsprint of things they already know about their community of study. Have them hypothesize what the answers to their questions might be. Then ask each group to choose five questions which they think are most crucial to answer through their research, and to list these questions on a second sheet of newsprint.


Step 3 Reconvene as a class and have each group share their knowledge and their questions. Tell students these lists will be revisited throughout their course of study and perhaps augmented and revised. Once the groups have reported back, give them a few minutes to add to / change their question lists based on other questions they have heard. Then ask students to write in their notebooks each of their group's five questions, one question per page.


Step 4 Assign reading selections from texts about the migration/ immigration experiences of Native Americans, African Americans and British colonists. Comprehensive accounts can be found in the texts A DIFFERENT MIRROR by Ronald Takaki (Little, Brown, 1993) and in the three volumes of A HISTORY OF US by Joy Hakim (Oxford University Press, 1993, 1994) listed in the Materials section above.


Step 5 As students read about the cultural community they have chosen, periodically direct them to return to their five questions, and to note passages from the text which they think provide answers or partial answers to these questions. Have them list page numbers and their notes on how the passage provides answers. Regularly set aside time for students within a group to share their findings with one another and to add to or change their lists of questions.


Homework: If students have access to a computer lab, provide them with the list of Web sites listed in this month's Selected Sites section. Have them print material related to their topic from at least two sites to share with their group. Have them add to and revise their emerging set of answers to their questions based on the new information they have located.


Activity 3: Visualizing History by Creating Time Lines and Filling in Maps

Steps:

Step 1 In their groups, have students create timelines of what they consider to be the dates of significance in the migration/ immigration experience of the community they are researching. Guide them in selecting their dates by 1) directing them to the questions which they considered in Activity 1, step three, and to the questions they compiled in Activity 2, step one, and 2) skimming the text to note words which highlight importance such as "mainly," "most significantly," "crucial," "fundamental," etc. Students should work together, but create their own timelines.


Step 2 Once students have listed dates, have them note next to the dates: the importance of the dates, a description of the events, and names and brief sketches of people who figured prominently in the events. Encourage students to pay attention not only to leaders, but to whole groups of people whose names may not be known - for example - women, runaway slaves, tribal elders, etc.


Step 3 Have students look for trends or patterns in significant events/ prominent players. Have them answer in their groups these questions: Do the significant events or people share any common characteristics? What are they? Why do you think this is so?


Step 4 Reconvene as a class and have groups report their findings.


Step 4 Distribute map templates of the United States to each student (these can be inexpensively purchased at any teaching supply store), and map handouts of the United States, one per group.


Step 4 Have groups use the text selections they have read and the timelines they compiled to locate places on the United States maps where significant events occurred. Have them mark the locations of these places on their map templates. If some of these events were migration routes, have them mark these groups with arrows. Also, have students draw in important topographical information noted in the text (mountains, rivers, desert, etc.)


Step 4 When students have completed their maps, have students practice visualizing information from the maps and timelines. Have them study the map they have created, turn it over and try to mentally picture the places/ dates they have recorded. Have them repeat this procedure with their timelines. When they have practiced mentally picturing this information, have them test each other in pairs.


Activity 4: Hypothesizing Cause and Effect / Making Generalizations About Their Meaning

Steps:

Step 1 Working in their groups, have students create cause and effect maps of the main events they have recorded on their timelines, using their readings and notes from their five questions (Activity 2, above). Have them use a map such as that provided below:

 Causes for events:
  1.  

  2.  

  3.  


 Major event:



 Effects of event:
  1.  

  2.  

  3.  


Adapted from Hennings, 1993.



Step 2 Have students group together events with similar causes and effects and to use these to make generalizations about the significance of the events they have studied. (For example, groups studying the impact of migration on Native Americans might generalize that forced migrations were a significant factor in decimating the Native American population). Students might use a generalization chart such as the one shown below:

Generalization:








Evidence to support the generalization:






Adapted from Hennings, 1993.



Step 3 Have groups use these generalization charts and cause-and-effect maps to write a group essay analyzing the significance of their cultural community's migration or immigration.


Step 4 Have each group develop an oral presentation based on their papers.


Extensions


1. Have students read a biography of a significant historical figure from the group they are studying. Ask them to complete timelines and cause/ effect and generalization maps for the person's life, and to use them to make a generalization about the life. Then ask them to write an essay analyzing the significance of the person's life and using events from the life to support their analysis.


2. Have students read about a current immigration experience and to compare/ contrast it with the earlier experience of the group they have studied.


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