Opportunity and Danger
In this lesson, elementary students develop an understanding of
the risks and rewards of immigrating to the U.S., focusing on Chinese
immigrants but including other groups as well. Using various resources,
including video segments from the documentary BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE
EXPERIENCE, Web sites, and student organizers, students examine the treatment,
often exclusionary, of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. and explore the
dynamics of inclusion, exclusion, and prejudice. As a culminating activity,
students interview first- or second-generation immigrants.
Note: To invite family participation, a letter can be sent home. A sample
letter to parents is provided; it may be adapted or used as is.
Note: This lesson can carry over anywhere from a few days to two weeks,
depending on the level of interest and commitment to the topic.
This topic offers tie-ins to many curriculum areas: social studies/history
(immigration; assimilation; diversity; racism; citizenship); science/health,
the arts (Chinese contributions in these areas); and language arts (speaking,
listening, research, expository writing, interviewing).
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate understanding of the terms "immigration" and
- Demonstrate understanding of the Immigration Acts of 1862 and 1965.
- Explore the meaning of prejudice.
- Identify at least three ways in which Chinese immigrants enjoyed opportunity
and three ways in which they faced danger.
- Name at least three ways in which U.S. culture changed the culture
of Chinese immigrants and three ways in which Chinese immigrant culture
changed U.S. culture.
- Articulate ideas and debate social issues related to Chinese immigration
to the U.S.
- Interview and write about someone who is a first- or second-generation
MCREL Behavioral Studies Standard and Benchmarks, Standard 1, Level
II, Benchmarks 3-4, Level III, Benchmark 1
Understands that group and cultural influences contribute to human development,
identity, and behavior
MCREL Behavioral Studies Standard and Benchmarks, Standard 2, Level II,
Benchmarks 1-3, 7-8, Level III, Benchmarks 3-8
Understands various meanings of social group, general implications of
group membership, and different ways that groups function
MCREL Behavioral Studies Standard and Benchmarks, Standard 4, Level II,
Benchmark 6, Level III, Benchmark 1
Understands conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among individuals,
groups, and institutions
MCREL Language Arts Standard and Benchmarks, Listening and Speaking, Standard
8, Level II, Benchmarks 1, 7
Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
MCREL Grades K-4 History Standards, Topic 4, Number 5
Understands the causes and nature of movements of large groups of people
into and within the United States, now and long ago.
This lesson was prepared by: Kathleen Cochran, Ed.M.