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The History and Reasons Behind Immigration

Grade Level Grades 6-8
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards


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Immigration investigates the history of immigration to America in the 1800s and early 1900s and the reasons why so many people left their home countries to better their lives in “the land of opportunity.”

Before the Civil War, many immigrants came from northern and western Europe, and prior to this, thousands of Africans were brought to America against their will and enslaved. After the Civil War, immigrants also came from southern and eastern Europe, Asia, Mexico, and Canada. In addition, students learn that the immigrant experience often included an arduous journey, fear of deportation, settling in rural or urban areas (often in close proximity to fellow immigrants), and prejudice. But these immigrants did a great deal of the hard work that led to the growth of the United States. They contributed (and still contribute) aspects of their cultures to a vibrant American culture, and embraced the American ideals of liberty and self-government. The material incorporates a rich array of civics-focused knowledge, questions, and activities. In choosing the specific content to call to teachers’ and students’ attention, we have been guided by the civics test developed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

This unit includes a Student Reader, Timeline Image Cards, and Teacher Guide, providing Guided Reading Supports and the following Additional Activities: video and discussion about the Orphan Train; virtual tours of the Tenement Museum in New York City, Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; domain vocabulary exercises; video and discussion: Finding Your Roots; examination of Elias Lieberman’s poem “I am an American”; and a Unit Assessment.


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).


1 Review
Wonderfully informative & thorough!
Travis Coleman
July 23, 2019