Asian-American History for Grades 6-8
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
- Use Web technology to access American history and the Asian-American experience
- Relive the Asian-American experience through firsthand accounts and biographies
- Evaluate journals as historical artifacts, especially the concept of firsthand account vs. history text
- Investigate immigration date, numbers, and patterns of Asians coming to the United States
- Discuss Asian American writing with author interviews
Introduce Asian American heritage through a class discussion. Ask students what groups belong under the umbrella term "Asian Americans." Prompt students to talk about the differences between these groups. Is being Indian American the same as being Korean American? Have them explain.
Have students explore the Asian American Statistics map and make notes on the number of immigrants from Asian countries, the states that they immigrated to, and the peak years of immigration. After they have completed their notes, continue the class discussion on what this information means to them and to the United States.
Supporting All Learners
NATIONAL STANDARDS CORRELATIONS
Reading Language Arts
International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (i.e. libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and communicate knowledge.
- Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and to acquire new information to meet the needs and demands of society.
- Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems.
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
- Culture (Students learn how to understand multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points.)
- Individuals, Groups, and Institutions (Students study interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.)
- Time, Continuity, and Change (Students study how the world has changed in order to gain perspective on the present and the future.)
- People, Places, and Environments (Students utilize technological advances to connect to the world beyond their personal locations. The study of people, places, and human-environment interactions assists learners as they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives of the world.)
- Global Connections (Students analyze patterns and relationships within and among world cultures.)
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
- use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
- Extend the lesson by continuing the discussion of Asian immigration to the United States. Have students read Li Keng Wong's story of immigration to the United States through Angel Island. As they read the story, each chapter has a Think About It question and a related Web site for further information. Assign different students or groups of students a different question, and have them research and write a response. Each student should share his or her opinion on their Think About It question.
- Once students have read Li Keng Wong's story, come back as a class and discuss different Asian Americans and the impact they have had on American history. Make a list of famous Asian Americans and write it on the board. Have students read the Notable Asian Americans article either online or printed in advance. Were any of the people on your list in the article? Have students write biographies of some of the people who are not in the article and create a Notable Asian American booklet.
- As a class, you can join the live interview of author Soyung Pak and the bulletin board with author Janet Wong where they can ask their questions about these authors' books, which deal with different aspects of Asian-American cultures. If you cannot attend either live event or have missed them, you can have students come up with a list of questions and then read the interview transcripts to see if any of those questions were answered.
- Following the lesson plan for Li Keng Wong's story of Angel Island, students should read Norman Mineta's story of living in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Compare Li Keng Wong's story of racism with Norman Mineta's story. Discuss the issues that Asian immigrants had coming to the United States. Were they worse than other immigrant groups? Why do students think Asian Americans had a harder time than Europeans coming to the United States?
- For older students, you can extend the discussion to different Asian religions. Can students think of different Asian religions? Direct students to the Confucianism Research Starter. Have them read the vocabulary and make note of any new words. As individuals or as a group, students should read through the articles. Once they have come up with a research topic, students should use the articles provided, the Web resources listed, and the library to complete their research paper.
Using the Asian American Statistics map, have students create two graphs to show Asian American growth in the United States. Make the first graph a bar graph with the x-axis for the country and the y-axis for the number of immigrants in the U.S. from that country. The second graph would be a line graph with the x-axis for the country and the y-axis for the decade of peak immigration years. Once students have filled out the graphs, have them compare the numbers. What countries have the largest immigration populations in the United States? Which years were popular for Asians to immigrate to the United States? Can you explain these numbers?
Art and Geography
As a class, have the students create a large version of the map of Asia. Have the students color each country in a different color, writing in the statistics provided in the Asian American Statistics section. For countries in Asia for which there are no statistics, have students research the information and fill in the map as completely as possible.
Ask students how they would feel if they were immigrating to the United States from China, just like Li Keng Wong. Have students write fictional journals about coming to America through Angel Island.