Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Changing Places
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

In this lesson, elementary students develop an understanding of what it means to immigrate from one country and culture to another. Using various resources, including video segments from the documentary BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE Web sites, and student organizers, students examine the experiences and contributions of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. and explore their own cultural heritages. As a culminating activity, students invite guest speakers who are first- or second-generation immigrants to tell about their experiences.

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.

Grade Level:
Grades 3-5

Time Allotment:
1-2 weeks.
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.

Subject Matter:
This topic offers tie-ins to many curriculum areas: social studies/history (immigration; assimilation; diversity; citizenship); science/health, the arts (Chinese contributions in these areas); and language arts (speaking, listening, research, expository writing, interviewing).

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the terms "immigration" and "immigrant."
  • Demonstrate understanding of the meaning of the term "culture."
  • Create cultural profiles for themselves and for others.
  • Name at least three reasons why Chinese immigrants came to the U.S.
  • Name at least three more reasons why people might leave their homes to live in another country.
  • Generate questions to ask someone who is a first- or second-generation immigrant.


National Standards:

MCREL Behavioral Studies Standard and Benchmarks, Standard 1, Level II, Benchmarks 3-4: &StandardID=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 &StandardID=2
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 &StandardID=4
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 &StandardID=8
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.