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Notable Asian Pacific Americans: An Asian Pacific American Heritage Activity

From a creator of Yahoo! to a famous musician, students can read the brief biographies of 10 Asian Americans who’ve made a difference.


3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Activity Type

  • Activities and Games

In Scholastic’s Notable Asian Pacific Americans online activity (grades 3–6), students can read short biographies of the following ten notable Asian Pacific Americans who have contributed to American history in a variety of ways.


  • Hawaiian native Duke Kahanamoku, the father of international surfing, who medaled at the 1912, 1920, 1924, and 1932 Olympics for swimming.
  • Dr. Feng Shan Ho, who single-handedly saved thousands of Austrian Jews during the Holocaust.
  • Dalip Singh Saund, who made history as the first Asian elected to Congress in 1956.
  • The Men of Steel,” nearly 12,000 Chinese railroad workers who performed dangerous work to construct the Central Pacific line, helping America become the first continent to have a coast-to-coast railroad.
  • Steven Chu, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on cooling atoms.
  • Yo-Yo Ma, who gained worldwide fame and more than a dozen Grammys as a cello player.
  • Architect Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Amy Tan, author of the best-selling novel, The Joy Luck Club.
  • Jerry Yang, who created Yahoo! with a Stanford University classmate.
  • Skating legend Michelle Kwan, who’s medaled at the Olympics and is admired for her athleticism and grace on the ice.

To learn more, students can click on related grade-appropriate links for further reading.



Learning Objectives

While participating in the Notable Asian Pacific American reading acitvity, students will:

  • Use Web technology to access American history and the Asian-American experience
  • Relive the Asian-American experience through biographies


Susan Cheyney

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