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COERLL (Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning)

Immigration Resources

SciShow YouTube Videos

Materials: Internet access, pens, pencils and paper


  • Students will research and analyze events and/or movements related to United States culture by locating facts for purposeful elaboration.
  • Students will create memoirs that give an audience a sense of how the past can be significant to the present by elaborating upon a significant past episode from the student's current perspective.
  • Students will reflect and respond expressively to texts so that the audience will discover multiple perspectives.


1. Ask students to reflect on the early exploration and migration stories from Units 1 and 2. What experiences do you remember? What feelings, ideas were expressed? How did they vary from story to story?

2. Using a computer with projector or a photo from the textbook, show a large photo of the Statue of Liberty. Ask students to free write about what the statue means to them and to the United States.

3. Read "The New Colossus" to your class while displaying the lyrics on an overhead or distributing copies. Discuss the themes and images in the piece. What might these words mean to a person coming to the United States for the first time? How do the students perceive these words in light of current events? What might immigrants from Mexico or other countries say about coming to America today?

4. Using a computer with a projector or handouts printed from online, visit
Ask students what they know about Ellis Island, if they have ever visited, or if they have relatives who came to America through Ellis Island. You could also show a large picture of the Statue of Liberty.

5. Use the timeline for an overview of events. Allow for discussion.

6. Go to the Ellis Island Then Photo Album. Using selected photos, ask students to respond to the following questions (they may write on the same paper they used for their freewrite):

  • What do you think is happening in this photo?
  • How does this photo make you feel?
  • How do you think the people in this photo feel?
7. Go to Family Histories. Divide students into groups of three or four. If students have laptops, ask them to visit this site as well. If not, print out the stories beforehand and distribute them to the groups. Each group should have a separate story.

8. Ask each group to read the story provided while answering the following questions:

  • From where did this person's family immigrate?
  • How did this person trace the family history?
  • Was the immigration journey difficult? What events stand out to you?
  • What was this immigrant's experience at Ellis Island, if noted?
  • What questions would you ask this immigrant if you could speak to him or her?
9. Students should share their ideas with the class.

10. For homework, ask students to either interview a relative with an immigrant story or research a story about a recent immigrant to the United States. Students should write a one-page reflection on what they learn.


Freewrites can be graded for participation; group presentations can be graded for completion and participation; homework can be graded for form and completion.

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