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Ohio Content Standards: Grade 11, People
in Societies 1; Grade 10, Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 4; Grade 9,
Social Studies Skills and Methods 2; Grade 10, History 1

Duration of Lesson: Three classes

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will analyze the historical immigration patterns
    in the United States.
  • Students will recognize and evaluate the use of
    stereotypes in editorial cartoons particularly pertaining to stereotypes
    of immigrants.
  • Students will evaluate the manner in which the experiences
    of immigrants from different countries were similar and how they differed.
  • Students will analyze how immigration patterns affected
    issues such as urbanization and politics.

Summary: This is a multi-faceted lesson which
touches upon the many causes and affects of American immigration patterns of
the late 19th and early 20th centuries. First students
research a profound group of immigrants. In groups students will then analyze
editorial cartoons that portray immigrants in a stereotypical and offensive
manner. Finally the class will study the affects the massive amounts of
immigrants to the United States had on its society and government.


  • Cartoons 1-8
  • Computer lab or media center for research

Pre-Assessment: Facilitate a class discussion about
current immigration patterns in the United States. Guide the discussion
towards immigration from Mexico and how this type of immigration affects the
economy and culture of the United States. Have students brainstorm other
ethnic groups that have a strong presence in the US and have this list on

Instructional Steps:

Day 1

  1. Complete pre-assessment
  2. Students
    research one ethnic group in the United States (deciding which students will
    research which group of immigrants is at the discretion of the teacher. Some
    students will enjoy researching their own ancestry). While researching the
    group they will complete the Coming to America worksheet.

Day 2

  1. Call
    for volunteers to tell about their group of immigrants. Other students that
    researched the same group should be welcomed to voice any additional
    information they deem important.
  2. Review
    the concept of stereotyping and discuss the different stereotypes that students
    have about different groups of people in our society.
  3. Distribute
    cartoons 1-4 to each student. In groups of 2-4, students will analyze the
    cartoons and determine what group is targeted. After they agree upon the group(s)
    that is targeted by the artist they should explain the stereotype drawn upon.
  4. Facilitate
    a class discussion about the different stereotypes and how these stereotypes
    came about. Talk through the different analysis of the groups.

Day 3

  1. Review
    the exercise / discussion about immigration and stereotyping from previous
  2. Have
    students brainstorm the effects of massive immigration on American society and
  3. Break
    students into groups of 3-4, preferably different groups then they established
    during the previous activity. Assign each group either cartoon 5, 6, or 7 and
    have them complete the Effects of Immigration worksheet.
  4. Students
    rotate group members as to form a new group of three that has an expert on each
    cartoon and share their cartoons and analysis with each other.

Post-Assessment: Distribute cartoon eight and have
students carefully review the picture. Students should write a brief
commentary on how this cartoon attempts to capture the nature of immigration at
the turn of the twentieth century. Teachers can ask students to do this in a
variety of ways; students should be required to synthesize the information
regarding stereotypes and effects of immigration they have studied during the
past three classes.

Extension Activities: Students are to write an
opinion editorial piece for the local newspaper. In this short opinionated
column the author is to take a stance on todays current immigration debate
(before this activity the teacher should outline this issue and the various
positions taken by policy makers). Exactly what the student is supposed to say
in their article is flexible however it is suggested that they address the
issues of legal and illegal immigration and what the federal government should
do to deal with the problems that immigration currently presents American

"A Bombardment that Would Paralyze Them"

"San Francisco's Three Graces"

"A Statue for Our Harbor"

"What Shall We Do With Our Boys?"

"Looking Backward"

"Seeking More Freedom!"

"The Hyphenated American"

"The Immigrant"