Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
The Immigrant Experience in America
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Students will learn about immigration, Ellis Island, and tenement life from 1890 to 1924. Each student will create an identity of an immigrant and write an essay in the first person. Essays will describe the fictitious immigrants in terms of who they are, where they came from, and what they found when they arrived in New York City.
Grade Level:


Subject Matter:

Social studies

Curricular Uses:

American history: immigration, urbanization, development of cities

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • use the Internet as a tool for research; gain exposure to the wide range of information available on the Internet, including photographs, text, and interactive environments.

  • know the difference between a primary source, such as the photos at the AMERICAN VISIONS site, and a secondary source, such as an essay previously written by a fifth grade student in another school.

  • write an essay in the first person, and learn how the construction of an accurate account of an immigrant's experience can add veracity to social studies.

  • make inferences by culling research from several sources in the development of an essay.

  • identify which immigrant groups and ethnicities came to the United States during the 1890-1924 time period.

  • gain knowledge about the following: the process of entering the United States as experienced by immigrants; methods of transportation and ports of arrival; treatment and reception of immigrants by other Americans; and conditions of tenement life.