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Teaching Guide

Teaching Immigration: Era of Restriction

Let the controversy begin.

GO TO STUDENT LEARNING GUIDE

The immigration debate crosses borders between the past and the present, and we'll help you guide your students through it all.

In this guide you will find

  • activities analyzing documents, images, and statistics of the era.
  • a research project on personal immigration histories that would make Henry Louis Gates, Jr. proud.
  • current events resources on modern immigration debates.

While not quite Shmooping Your Roots, our teaching guide is the next best thing.

What's Inside Shmoop's History Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring history to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 3-5 Common Core-aligned activities (including quotation, image, and document analysis) to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

Objective: Recent immigration trends have replaced the “new” immigrants of the turn of the century with a group that might be called the new "new" immigrants. In this exercise, your students will compare the new immigrants of today with the new immigrants of 1900. They'll analyze some immigration statistics, identify the changing composition of American immigration, and construct tables or charts that provide clear summaries of their findings.

Length of Lesson: 1-2 class periods.

Materials Needed: 

Step One: Review the national and ethnic composition of the “new immigration” during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You can direct them to Shmoop's Politics in Ellis Island Era Immigration page for that information.

Step Two: Briefly explore their sense of contemporary immigration patterns by discussing the questions below.

  • How similar is contemporary immigration?
  • Do the same national and ethnic groups make up the majority of today’s immigrants?

Step Three: Ask them to construct a statistical hypothesis regarding contemporary immigration.

  • What percentage of contemporary immigrants come from Mexico, Ireland, etc.?

Step Four: Direct them to the sites below where they can gather statistical data on immigration. 

Ask them to focus on the period between 1960 and 2010 to gather statistics on immigration over the past 50 years. They can use the following questions to help them focus their analyses.

  • From which seven regions or countries have most immigrants come over the past 50 years?
  • Has immigration changed within the past 50 years?
  • How similar are the immigration statistics for each of the last five decades, in terms of country or region of origins?
  • How does your hypothetical list (from Step Four) stand up against this data? Were you close?

Step Five: Ask your students to construct a set of charts (bar graphs, pie charts, etc.) that summarize their findings about recent immigration.

Step Six: Give students a chance to present their visual data, either through individual presentations, small group reviews, or a gallery walk. 

Instructions for Your Students

At one point, people claimed blue was the new black. Then they said brown was the new black—but wouldn't brown technically be the new new black? (And if so, shouldn't orange be the new new new black?)

Sorry. We don't mean to make your head spin. But believe it or not, a similar thing has happened with immigration. 

One hundred years ago, native-born Americans drew sharp and critical distinctions between the “new” immigrants and those that had arrived in earlier decades—the "old new" immigrants. And of course, new waves of immigrants keep on coming. 

But just how similar are today’s new "new" immigrants to the new immigrants of 1900? That's the question you're going to try to answer today.

Step One: Review the national and ethnic composition of the “new immigration” during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You visit Shmoop's Politics in Ellis Island Era Immigration page for that information.

Step Two: Briefly chat about your sense of contemporary immigration patterns by discussing the questions below with your teacher and classmates.

  • How similar is contemporary immigration?
  • Do the same national and ethnic groups make up the majority of today’s immigrants?

Step Three: Now it's time to make an educated guess about immigration trends. Construct a statistical hypothesis regarding contemporary immigration. Um... what? 

What we mean is make a list of the countries that you think the majority of immigrants to the U.S. come from. Then, once you have your list, estimate what percentage of U.S. immigrants come from each of those countries. What percentage of contemporary immigrants come from Mexico, Ireland, etc.?

Step Four: Once you've made your list, you're going to check it. Twice. Take a look at the  sites below where you can gather statistical data on immigration. 

Focus on the period between 1960 and 2010 to gather statistics on immigration over the past 50 years. You can use the following questions to help focus your analysis.

  • From which seven regions or countries have most immigrants come over the past 50 years?
  • Has immigration changed within the past 50 years?
  • How similar are the immigration statistics for each of the last five decades, in terms of country or region of origins?
  • How does your hypothetical list (from Step Four) stand up against this data? Were you close?

Step Five: Now that you have the real stats, construct a set of charts (bar graphs, pie charts, etc.) that summarize your findings about recent immigration.

Step Six: Presentation time! Show your work to your teacher and classmates—and see what everyone else came up with. You can do this through individual presentations, small group reviews, or a gallery walk. Your teacher will give you the details. 

WANT MORE HELP TEACHING IMMIGRATION: ERA OF RESTRICTION?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary & Analysis    Timeline    People    Facts    Photos    Best of the Web    Citations    
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