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Members: Nancy Youngbauer and Mia Beesley


Grade Level: 4th grade

Learning Goals:

All Iowans have ancestors who immigrated to Iowa from other parts of the United
States or the world (although American Indians came a few thousand years
before the rest.)

People immigrated to Iowa for many reasons, including 'push-pull factors' and
events related to World War I.

Numerous ethnic settlements with unique customs and traditions were started in
Iowa. Several festivals featuring the cultural traditions of these ethnic groups are
held annually across the state.

Today Iowa continues to be a home for immigrants from all over the world,
including newcomers from Bosnia, the Sudan, and additional immigrants from

Key Terms:

      Immigration
      Ancestors
      Customs and traditions
      Ethnic groups
      Festivals
      Push-pull
      Ellis Island
      Culture
      Immigrant

Iowa History Benchmarks
8. Settlers from Many Lands
       (indicators are being used as our learning goals; see above)

North Scott Standards and Benchmarks – 4th Grade Social Studies

Standard 1 – Citizenship

Applies the principles and skills of responsible participation to the benefit of the
community, nation, and world.
1.4.1 Understands the importance of the diverse cultural backgrounds of
immigrants in the development of American culture.

Standard 3 - Time and Change

Understands the relevance of chronological relationships and patterns and
knows how to analyze them.
3.4.4 Understands the significance of the movement of people and goods from
place to place within our country.

Standard 5 – Culture

Understands that groups and cultural influences contribute to conflict,
cooperation, and interdependence among individuals, groups, and institutions.

5.4.7 Knows that diversity exists within regions of our country.

Iowa Teaching Standards:

4. Uses strategies to deliver instruction that meets the multiple learning needs of

5. Uses a variety of methods to monitor student learning.

7. Engages in professional growth.
Lesson Plans:

Activity #1

Title: Introduction and Pre Narrative

Objective: Students will be introduced to the concept of immigration.

Materials: United Streaming website (see library media specialist for assistance)


   1. Show students a picture of the Statue of Liberty and ask them to explain
      why this is an important symbol for our country.
   2. Show video clip “Reasons for Immigration” from the video, Immigration to
      the United States available from United Streaming website.
   3. Give students the list of “Key Terms” for this unit and have them write a
      narrative paragraph using each term.

Key Terms:

      Immigration
      Ancestors
      Customs and traditions
      Ethnic groups
      Festivals
      Push-pull
      Ellis Island
      Culture
      Immigrant

Assessment: This gives teachers a baseline of what the students know at the
very beginning of the unit about immigration and can be used to compare with
what they have learned by the end of the unit when they complete the post
narrative assignment.
Activity #2

Title: Push and Pull Factors of Immigration

Objective: Students will understand that people immigrated to Iowa for many
reasons, including 'push-pull factors' and events related to World War I.



      1. Read the web page aloud together as a class using the LCD projector
         and discuss.
      2. Have each student, at their own computer, click on the “complete this
         chart” link. Do the first one together, then have students complete the
         rest on their own.

Program will automatically correct students’ incorrect responses. Teacher should
be observing as the students are working.
Activity #3

Title: Explore Ellis Island


Students will understand that all Iowans have ancestors who immigrated to Iowa
from other parts of the US or the world.
Students will understand that people immigrated to Iowa for many reasons,
including push-pull factors and events related to WWI.

   1. Using the LCD projector, view the Tour of Ellis Island from Step 1 in
      Excursion (website above). It might be nice to give the students a copy of
      the map from the first page.
   2. Summarize what happens at each stop.
   3. Go to Step 2 in Excursion. Together as a class look at all the pictures on
      the LCD first. If students have access to the laptops, then use those to
      look at a picture they choose. If not, print copies of the pictures for the
      students to choose.
   4. When the students have chosen a picture have them pick one of the
      people in the picture to be. Write about what your hopes might be about
      this new home, your worries, what you might have brought with you, what
      did you have to leave behind, and anything else you want to include.

         Informal assessment that the student is beginning to develop some
            empathy for the immigrants.
Activity #4

Title: A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures (Emigrants Coming to the Land of

Objective: Students will understand that all Iowans have ancestors who
immigrated to Iowa from other parts of the United States or the world.



   1. Using the LCD projector, show the photo from the webpage and answer
      the “Key Observation Questions” together as a class.
   2. Have each student, at their own computer, choose one of the people in
      the photo. Then answer the questions, on paper, that begin with the 5
      “W’s” about that person.
   3. As an extension, students can make up answers to their own questions.
   4. Share some of their questions and answers. Compare the
      questions/answers that two or more students wrote for the same person.

Assessment: Check papers for understanding of what it was like to be an
Activity #5

Title: Voices of the Past

copies of the graphic organizer for each student
large copy of the graphic organizer to record class results

Students will understand that all Iowans have ancestors who immigrated to Iowa
from other parts of the US or the world.
Students will understand that people immigrated to Iowa for many reasons,
including push-pull factors and events related to WWI.


   1. Let the students pick which ethnic background they want to read. Make
      sure that all six have representatives from the class.
   2. Have the students read their paragraphs and fill in the graphic organizer. If
      they finish early, they could be given the option to use headphones to
      listen to the entries that are recorded in the different languages.
   3. When all are finished, have them get in groups with the other students
      who chose the same. Share and choose someone to be the reporter to the
   4. Call class back together and record information on class graphic
      organizer. Discuss the differences and similarities.

         Students turn in their individual copies of the graphic organizer to
            insure that they did their own work. Assessment will also be in the
            class graphic organizer and contributions to the discussion.
Activity #6

Title: Interview an Immigrant

Objectives: Students will understand that today Iowa continues to be a home for
immigrants from all over the world.

People from the community that have immigrated to the United States


   1. Using the LCD projector, read together as a class, the web page listed
   2. Explain to the class that instead of each student finding someone to
      interview, we will find two or more recent immigrants from our community
      to interview together.
   3. As a class, create a list of questions that we would like to ask the
      immigrants, using the ideas on the web page as a guide.
   4. Invite the immigrants to come to our school and participate in our panel

Assessment: Students will write a thank you note to one of the immigrants telling
them the most interesting thing they learned from the visit. They also could write
in their journals about what they learned.
Activity #7

Title: Iowa Ethnic Festival Research

List of festivals with locations
Map of Iowa with major cities
Copies of graphic organizer (below)
World Book online
Non-fiction books
Yahooligans/ Directory/ Countries
Other websites if needed
Kid Pix Studio (software)
Presentation rubric
United Streaming video segment, “Culture,” from Immigration to the United
States (see your library media specialist for assistance)

Students will understand that numerous ethnic settlements with unique customs
and traditions were started in Iowa and that several festivals featuring the cultural
traditions of these ethnic groups are held annually across the state.

      1. Watch the video segment, “Culture,” from the Immigration to the United
         States video available for download from United Streaming (see your
         library media specialist for assistance).
      2. Using the teacher-provided list of Iowa’s cultural festivals and festival
         locations, students will label at least five different festivals on their Iowa
      3. Students will choose one of the countries represented and research its
         traditions, customs and foods.
      4. Using their research, students will plan their own festival, including
         their main events and food.
      5. To share their research students can choose to create a commercial, a
         poster or a Kid Pix slide show.

         Teacher will check the festivals map to make sure students were
            able to locate at least five of the festivals.
         Iowa Ethnic Festival Research note sheet
         Checklist for presentation
                        Iowa Ethnic Festival Research

World Book Online
Non-fiction books
Websites: start with Yahooligans and choose Countries in the directory.

Country Name
         Topic                                   Details
Traditions and
customs of country

Main events of your

Foods that would be
at your festival
Name of Festival     Town             Ethnic Group      Contact Info
Tulip Festival       Pella            Dutch   
                                                        time Historical Society 641-
Cinco de Mayo        Belmond          Mexican
Mexican Festival
Croatian Festival    Centerville Croatian
Greek Food Fair      Des Moines Greek
St. Patrick’s        Emmetsburg Irish                   712-852-4326
Italian-American     Oelwein          Italian
Heritage Day
National             St. Donatus      Luxembourg
Luxembourg Day
Scandinavian         Story City       Scandinavian 515-733-4214
Meskwaki Pow         Tama             Native
Wow                                   American
Nordic Festival      Decorah          Nordic       800-382-FEST
Oktober Fest         Amanas           German       800-579-2294

                      Places of Nativity for Foreign Born
                      Residents of Iowa—Census of 1870

                      Total State Population – 1,194,020
                    Total foreign Born Population – 204,692
            Austria          2, 691             Holland       4,513
            Bohemia          6,765              Ireland       40,124
            British          17,907             Norway        17,554
            America          2,827              Sweden        10,796
            Denmark          3,130              Switzerland   3,937
            France           66,162             Other         2,967
            Germany          25,318
            Great Britain

                                          Table from Camp Silos Excursions Immigration
                            Ethnic Festival Checklist

                   Student Name______________________

               Country _________________________________

                                                        Student   Teacher
Completed research page
List of resources used
Presentation includes information about: traditions,
customs, foods
Used creativity in presentation
Activity #8

Title: Post Narrative and Conclusion


   1. Give students the list of “Key Terms” for this unit and have them write a
      narrative paragraph using each term.

Key Terms:

Customs and traditions
Ethnic groups
Ellis Island

   2. Share in small groups and discuss.

Teacher: Certain amount of points earned for each term accurately used or
Student: Compare what was written on the pre unit narrative and the post unit
narrative. What did you learn?
                         Immigration Book List
           (these books were all available at Bettendorf Public Library)


Letters from Rifka (Hesse)
    Refused passage in 1919 because she has ringworm, a young Jewish girl
       from Russia battles supercilious officials and yards of red tape before she
       is finally reunited with her family in America. (School Library Journal)
Annie Quinn in America (Schneider)
    There's no debate when Annie and her brother get a chance to leave
       famine-ravaged Ireland in 1847 to live with their sister Bridget in New
       York. The youngsters brave the perilous journey and arrive at the bustling
       city ready to start anew. Bridget finds a place for them on the domestic
       staff of the Fairchild household, where she works as a maid, and the
       siblings look forward to the day when they can bring over the rest of the
       family. Then reality intervenes: a conniving thief who stole the children's
       baggage at dockside returns to menace them, and the household staff
       takes advantage of the younger Quinns, unbeknownst to both Bridget and
       the Fairchilds. (* Booklist)
Nory Ryan’s Song (Giff)
    Life is hard for poor Irish potato farmers, but 12-year-old Nory Ryan and
       her family have always scraped by... until one morning, Nory wakes to the
       foul, rotting smell of diseased potatoes dying in the fields. And just like
       that, all their hopes for the harvest--for this year and next--are dashed.
       Hunger sets in quickly. The beaches are stripped of edible seaweed, the
       shore is emptied of fish, desperate souls even chew on grass for the
       nourishment. As her community falls apart, Nory scrambles to find food for
       her family. Meanwhile, the specter of America lurks, where, the word is, no
       one is ever hungry, and horses carry milk in huge cans down cobblestone
       streets. (Amazon)
Maggie’s Door (Giff)
    416 Smith Street, Brooklyn, America: this is the ultimate goal for Nory
       Ryan as she flees her famine-ridden home in mid-1800s Ireland. One by
       one, her family has departed for a new life in America; Nory is the last to
       go. Keeping her sister Maggie’s address close to her heart, Nory embarks
       on the perilous, heart-breaking journey to Galway and onward. Meanwhile,
       her friend Sean Red Mallon is just a few days ahead, traveling with his
       mother and Nory’s little brother, Patch, with the same destination in mind.
       Sequel to Nory Ryan’s Song.(Amazon)
The Orphan of Ellis Island (Woodruff)
    Dominic, a lonely orphan boy, is accidentally left behind on a fifth-grade
       school trip to Ellis Island. Wandering at night through the museum, he
       listens to the narratives of immigrants in the exhibit and is shocked when
       one of the voices addresses him, telling him about life in Italy. Exhausted,
       Dominic falls asleep, and finds himself transported to the same village the
       narrator was telling him about, a place in southern Italy, where the
       immigrant and his two brothers teach Dominic what it's truly like to be
       hungry and poor. They accept Dominic as a member of their little family,
       and eventually he ends up immigrating to America with them. (Booklist)
Land of Hope (Nixon)
     Rebekah, 15, and her family leave their shtetl in Russia for the U. S.,
       seeking safety from the random violence against Jews. On the ship she
       meets two girls, one Irish and one Swedish, representing two other major
       groups of immigrants in the early 1900s. Rebekah and her friends talk
       about the opportunities for women in their new country, a theme that
       reappears throughout the story. Interwoven is the beginning of a romance
       that will surely develop in later books. (School Library Journal)
Silver Days (Levitin)
     This sequel to Levitin's Journey to America (Aladdin, 1986) , takes up
       exactly where the earlier book ended--in 1940, with the family reunited in
       New York City. In a first-person narration, Lisa, the middle daughter, tells
       the story of their "silver days" from 1940 to 1943, conveying the strength
       and spirit that enabled the family to not only survive being uprooted from
       their comfortable home in Germany, but also to make a new life for
       themselves. Much of the humor in the book comes from Lisa's father, a
       hard-working, energetic, and optimistic man. The girls' mother is a strong-
       willed woman who is almost undone by the death of her mother, who
       chose to stay in Germany. Lisa is also strongly influenced by her beautiful
       and intelligent older sister and a lively, sensitive younger sister. A move to
       California leads to more disruption but ultimately results in more economic
       security and a chance for Lisa to study dance seriously again. (School
       Library Journal)
I Be Somebody (Hadley)
     The book "I Be Somebody" written by Hadley Irwin is about a 9 year old
       boy who has to deal with racial discrimination. His name is Rap. Rap lives
       with his Aunt Spicy. Times were hard where they lived, because of
       segregation and the depression. Then they heard about a place called
       Athabasca, Canada, in church. Things weren't bad there. So then they
       decided to move there to get away from it all. (Amazon: child review)
       Ellis Island Days (Weiss)
     She may be just a doll, but she has lived in many places and seen
       incredible things. Hitty travels to Italy in style with a spoiled little rich girl,
       but soon falls into the hands of Fiorella Rossi, a kind girl whose poor
       family longs to reach America. Will the Rossis survive of their difficult
       journey? (Amazon)
Dear America Series/ My Name is America Series-

Journal of Otto Peltonen, A Finnish Immigrant (Durbin)
     Teenager Otto Peltonen uses his journal to describe life in a Minnesota
      mining town at the start of the last century. Accompanied by his mother
      and two sisters, Otto survives a horrendous journey across the Atlantic to
      join his father in America, where he anticipates idyllic opulence. Instead he
      is faced with life in a shantytown where the division by wealth looms
      ominously before him. As Otto changes from a dedicated student to a
      labor-worn miner, his parents go through their own fascinating battles,
      which add dimension to the plot: Otto's father joins a miners' strike against
      United States Steel, the first billion-dollar industry in U.S. history; Otto's
      mother becomes a vigilant suffragette. (Booklist)
A Coal Miner’s Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska (Bartoletti)
     Anetka, a resourceful Polish girl, is ordered by her father to come to
      America and marry a man she has never met. At 14, she becomes a
      miner's wife and the stepmother of three young daughters. The hardships
      and dangers of life in a mining camp, recorded in diary format, are
      balanced by the tenderness, friendship, and romance touching Anetka's
      life. (School Library Journal)
One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping: The Diary of Julie Weiss, Vienna, Austria
to New York, 1938 (Denenberg)
     Follow 13-year-old Julie Weiss through the pivotal year 1938, when the
      Nazis invade Austria. Julie's father is a beloved doctor in Vienna, her
      mother a social butterfly, her brother a Zionist. Although Julie knows she is
      Jewish it doesn't mean much to her until the Nazis come, and the Jewish
      population is terrorized; Julie's mother commits suicide rather than endure
      the coming horror. Dr. Weiss has had the foresight to give Julie English
      lessons and gets her to an aunt in New York. Here the story takes on a
      fairy-tale quality. Julie's aunt is a famous stage actress, and within a few
      short months Julie is appearing on the stage with her, to much acclaim.
Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish
Immigrant Girl, New York city, 1903 (Lasky)
     Zipporah Feldman, a 12-year-old Jewish immigrant from Russia, uses
      diary entries to chronicle her family's activities as they acclimate to life on
      New York City's Lower East Side. She absorbs the freedom of America,
      wanting to share her enthusiasm with her parents, encouraging her father
      to pursue his love of music and trying to persuade her mother to shed
      some of her strict religious ways. The story's historical significance is
      evident in the Feldman's arrival at Ellis Island and the subsequent
      procedures immigrants had to endure, and in the description of the factory
      fire in which Zipporah's friend dies, which is based on the famous Triangle
      Shirtwaist Factory of 1911. (School Library Journal)
Picture Books

When Jessie Came Across the Sea (Hest)
    Jessie and her grandmother live in an Eastern European shtetel where,
       one day, the Rabbi informs the villagers that his brother has died and left
       him one ticket to "the promised land." The rabbi feels he cannot leave his
       people and decides to give the ticket to 13-year-old Jessie. It's almost too
       much for Jessie and her grandmother to bear, though both believe it is for
       the best. In America, Jessie follows her grandmother's trade and becomes
       a dressmaker. She works for three years until she has enough saved to
       purchase another ticket--for her grandmother. (Booklist)
Lights for Gita (Gilmore)
    An immigrant child from India celebrates the Hindu holiday of Divali for the
       first time in her new home. An introductory note describes the holiday as a
       festival of lights celebrated with sweets, parties, storytelling, and fireworks.
       In the November gloom of her new apartment, Gita longs for her extended
       family in New Delhi and the warmth she's left behind. She cries when an
       ice storm knocks out the power in all the buildings on her street; but with
       her parents and her best friend, she lights the diyas for the festival, and
       she comes to see that the lights of Divali can beat the darkness outside
       and the sadness within. (Booklist)
I Hate English! (Levine)
    When her family moves to New York from Hong Kong, Mei Mei finds it
       difficult to adjust to school and learn the alien sounds of English. (Card
       catalog description)
An Ellis Island Christmas (Leighton)
    Papa has already left Poland, and Krysia longs to see him again. "First we
       must cross the ocean to get to Ellis Island in America," says Mama.
       "That’s where Papa is waiting for us." Saying goodbye to her home is
       hard, and the ocean voyage is long and stormy, but finally, on Christmas
       Eve, Krysia sees the Statue of Liberty! (Amazon)
A Picnic in October (Bunting)
    Every year on October 28th, Tony's extended family packs a picnic, lawn
       chairs, blankets, and a birthday cake, and heads to the Statue of Liberty to
       celebrate Lady Liberty's "birthday." Despite Tony's annual embarrassment,
       Grandma's need to express her emotions over her long-ago acceptance
       by her chosen country is paramount, and the family respects that. This
       year, a chance encounter with a family of new emigres opens Tony's eyes
       to just what the statue symbolizes, and he joins openly in the final toast,
       proud and unashamed. (School Library Journal)
Molly’s Pilgrim (Cohen)
    A Russian immigrant girl adjusts to the American celebrations of
       Thanksgiving and birthdays, respectively. (Publishers Weekly)

Immigrant Children (Whitman)
    Describes the flood of immigration into the United States in the late
       nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, focusing on the experiences of
       the youngest immigrants, both on their journeys and in their new country.
       (Card catalog description)
Coming to America: The Story of Immigration (Maestro)
    An introductory history of immigration from thousands of years ago
       through the present, focusing on why different groups of people came to
       America and how they became a part of our national heritage. Maestro
       points out that when Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Americas,
       millions of people were already living on these continents. Different
       perspectives are incorporated into the text, including the harsh treatment
       Indians received and the forced immigration of Africans. The various laws
       that the U. S. has adopted to control immigration are explained. A brief
       history of Ellis Island is included. The colorful, exuberant watercolors show
       men, women, and children of all nationalities. Most of the scenes are
       hopeful or festive, although one illustration of a crying child being held
       back from a relative who was rejected at Ellis Island is upsetting. A table
       of dates provides a quick summary of immigration highlights. (School
       Library Journal)
I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories from the Ellis Island Oral History
Project (Lawlor)
    Begun in 1975, the Ellis Island Oral History Project is an informal
       collection of interviews with individuals who immigrated to the U.S.
       through Ellis Island. Short selections, each 1 or 2 paragraphs long, from
       15 of those interviews are reprinted here. The subjects were for the most
       part children when they arrived in the period 1900-1925. One was future
       Israeli leader Golda Meir. Many of the selections describe the facility itself;
       others talk of family and feelings. Opposite each remembrance is a
       striking, childlike, hand-painted collage; both are superimposed on a
       beige-toned reproduction of the collage picture. (School Library Journal)
Immigrants (Sandler)
    Focusing on the period 1870-1920, this new entry in the Library of
       Congress Book series is a collection of photographs and illustrations of
       the immigration experience loosely tied together by a general text. Quotes
       from immigrants from different countries and photos of the Statue of
       Liberty (in pieces), Ellis Island, and the urban centers where many of the
       immigrants began life in America combine to give an idea of what life was
       like. Sandler also includes brief discussions of slavery and of immigration
       patterns today. The conclusion emphasizes cultural diversity as our
       greatest strength. (Booklist)
Making a New Home in America (Rosenberg)
        Text and photographs present the stories of five children who have come
         to the United States as immigrants or resident aliens from Japan, Cuba,
         India, Guyana, and Vietnam. (Card catalog description)
Ellis Island (Owens)
     Describes the historical significance and recent restoration of Ellis Island,
         which served as a point of entrance for millions of immigrants to the
         United States. (Card catalog description)
Life at Ellis Island (Isaacs)
     Double-page spreads describe not only the Ellis Island experience during
         the peak immigration years 1892-1924, but also why people left their
         homelands, where they came from, their voyages, and what they did after
         gaining entry to the U.S. Abundant use is made of sometimes-grainy
         period photographs and reproductions as well as current-day renderings
         of how things looked in the early 20th century. (School Library Journal)
The Story of Ellis Island (Stein)
     Describes the experiences of the many immigrants who sought entry to
         the United States at the immigration station on Ellis Island, New York,
         before it closed in 1954. (Card catalog description)
If Your Name was Changed at Ellis Island (Levine)
     Despite the book's somewhat misleading title (only two pages are devoted
         to the practice of changing names), Levine offers a comprehensive, well
         organized discussion of the immigration procedures followed at Ellis Island
         between 1892 and 1914. One- or two-page chapters offer concise
         answers to questions ("What did people bring with them?'; "What
         happened if you were detained?"; "How did people learn English?"),
         enabling youngsters to digest easily a significant amount of information.
         Facts about the many rigorous routines and tests (medical, legal, literacy)
         that new arrivals endured are peppered with the intriguing personal
         reminiscences of individuals who lived through them. (Publishers
Where Did Your Family Come From? A Book about Immigrants (Berger)
     Explains immigration beginning with long ago but concentrating on the
         lives of four young immigrants today; early reader format. (Card catalog

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