Lesson Plan

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


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.



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 display.

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 class.
  2. Have students brainstorm the effects of massive immigration on American society and politics.
  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.


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 society.


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