American immigration in past and present day.

Lesson Plan Activities Using Technology

Common Core State Standards:

Key Ideas and Details:

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Craft and Structure:

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.


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Who are nativists?

Nativists are people who want to limit immigration and preserve the country for people born in America only. They favor white Protestant Americans and fear all foreigners. This fear of foreigners is known as xenophobia. The main reasons why nativists are anti-immigration include the following: they do not trust immigrants, they fear that immigrants will take all of the jobs away from Americans, and nativists are worried that immigrants will corrupt American values.
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The Know Nothing Party

Although the term nativists does not refer to a political party, a political party did develop that reflected nativism during the 1850's. Membership of the party was limited to only white Protestant American male citizens. The Know Nothing Party was established on anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic values. They believed that Catholics were controlled by the Pope in Rome and would never be loyal to America. The party began as a secret organization. The name "Know Nothing" comes from the point that members would say "I know nothing" when asked about the organization by non-members. Eventually, the party split over other political issues; however, the nativist spirit of the Know Nothing movement was revived in later movements such as the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's.

1. Severe limits on immigration, especially Catholics.
2. Restricting political office to white native-born Americans only.
3. Mandating a wait of 21 years before an immigrant could become a citizen.
4. Restricting public school teacher positions to white Protestants only.
5. Restricting the use of languages other than English.

Your task:

Your task is to create a newspaper article explaining the development of the Know Nothing Party in America. Remember to grab the attention of an audience and come up with a catchy title with relevant and alarming information.

Be sure to include the following in your article:

-definition and explanation of Nativism
-why the Know Nothing Party is established
-the dangers of both Nativists and the Know Nothing Party itself
-problems that may arise from their presence in society
Newspaper Generator

Use this website to create your newspaper article reporting on "The Know Nothing Party". It is your job as the journalist to report to the public why this party was founded, who the members are, and major beliefs. Follow the directions above.


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Welcome to Ellis Island! More than 12 million immigrants made their first stop in America at the Ellis Island Immigration Station between 1892 and 1954. In fact, more than 40 percent of Americans can trace their family history back to Ellis Island. (


First, you will take the interactive tour on the Scholastic website by clicking the first button below. Read through each of the 10 steps the immigrants took from the moment they first arrived. Then, create your own timeline using Timetoast. Your timeline should be a brief step-by-step explanation of the journey through the immigration station at Ellis Island.

Scholastic Interactive Tour of Ellis Island

Learn about immigration on Ellis Island in this interactive tour. Facts about immigration, photos of Ellis Island, oral histories, and videos explain the immigration process.

Create your group timeline using this website. Use the "list" view, add text, pictures, and appropriate dates. Create a group by selecting "collaborate" and add each group member into the timeline (including Miss Alfieri) so that everyone has access.


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In the 19th century, more and more people began crowding into America's cities, including thousands of newly arrived immigrants seeking a better life than the one they left behind. In New York City - where the population doubled every decade from 1800-1880 - buildings that had once been single-family dwellings were increasingly divided into multiple living spaces to accommodate this growing population. Known as tenements, these narrow apartment buildings were cramped, poorly lit and lacked indoor plumbing and proper ventilation. With less than a foot of space between buildings, little air and light could get in. Later on when new tenements were built, cheap materials and construction shortcuts were used to build them quicker. Even new, this kind of housing was at best uncomfortable and at worst highly unsafe. This overcrowded housing caused diseases to spread quickly. By 1900, some 2.3 million people (a full two-thirds of NYC's population) were living in tenement housing.

Jacob Riis

Jacob Riis photographed tenements and wrote a book exposing the horrible conditions of the tenements. This caused new laws to pass that required certain features of the building to be put in place, such as one window in every room. Here is an excerpt from his book How the Other Half Lives.
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"Enough of them [tenements] everywhere. Suppose we look into one? . . . Be a little careful, please! The hall is dark and you might stumble over the children pitching pennies back there. Not that it would hurt them; kicks and cuffs are their daily diet. They have little else. Here where the hall turns and dives into utter darkness is a step, and another, another. A flight of stairs. You can feel your way, if you cannot see it. Close? Yes! What would you have? All the fresh air that ever enters these stairs comes from that hall-door that is forever slamming, and from the windows of dark bedrooms . . . That was a woman filling her pail by the hydrant you just bumped against. The sinks are in the hallway, that all the tenants may have access . . . In summer, when a thousand thirsty throats pant for a cooling drink in this block, it is worked in vain . . . Here is a door. Listen! That short hacking cough, that tiny, helpless wail - what do you mean? . . . Oh! A sadly familiar story - before the day is at an end. The child is dying with measles. With half a chance it might have lived; but it had none. That dark bedroom killed it.

-Jacob A. Riis, How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York, 1890.

Your task:

You will create a slideshow using photographs taken by Jacob Riis and other "muckrakers" from this time period. Using, create one slideshow for your group including the appropriate pictures (search engine), captions, quotes from Jacob Riis, and add music. Make sure your video is at least 40 seconds long.
Animoto Film Creator

Use this film creator to make your slideshow of Jacob Riis' photographs and quotes. You may include photos from other photographers as well. Make sure to grab the attention of your audience!


Is America a melting pot or a salad bowl?


According to the traditional view of immigration, the Melting Pot Theory suggests that immigrants assimilate, or blend in, to the American culture. Supporters of this theory believe in the importance of creating one national identity which will prevent culture clashes in society. Also, they believe that identifying oneself with the country in which they live encourages patriotism, nationalism, and loyalty. In this theory, immigrants may visibly lose parts of their culture to the one in which they assimilated. Some say that if people fully assimilate, they will forget where they came from.
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According to the Salad Bowl Theory, newly arrived immigrants do not lose the unique aspects of their cultures like they do in the melting pot. Instead, the unique characteristics of each culture are still identified within the larger American society. Immigrants are visibly different, much like the ingredients in a salad. In a salad, you can see all the separate ingredients in the same bowl, much like you can see all the different cultures living in the same country. Some say if this trend continues, there will no longer be an American culture.
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You are preparing for a debate. You must develop at least 6 arguments for each of the points of view. List your arguments on your Google Drive account. (The group may come up with these together.)

Once you have at least 6 arguments for each side, independently choose which theory you support and why. Underneath your list of arguments, name the theory you support and write at least 10 sentences explaining why.

Google Drive

This link will take you to the sign in page for Google Drive. You will each sign in to your own accounts and follow the directions above.


This is an independent work station.


Using profiles from Scholastic, choose one immigrant each and answer the questions that follow based on your choice. *Everyone in your group must choose a different immigrant. Then, create a collage representing the person of your choice using

Select one of the immigrants from Scholastic's "Meet Young Immigrants". Read his/her profile, look at the pictures, and watch the video to learn more.


Answer the following questions using your Google Drive account. You will see this document in your account already titled "Meet Young Immigrants". The questions are already on the document and you will answer right underneath each question. [Here are the questions for the viewer's reference.]



Current Home:___________

Place of Origin:___________

1. How did this immigrant get to the United States?

2. Why did he/she come to the United States?

3. What does this immigrant like about America?

4. What is an American tradition that is new for this immigrant?

5. Describe some other American traditions that may be new for immigrants.

Google Drive

This link will take you to the sign in page for Google Drive.

Collage Creator

Sign in to your kizoa account and create a new collage. You may do an animated or still collage. Also, you may design your collage from scratch or select a template. Make sure you add pictures and quotes to represent the person you chose. Have fun!