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African Immigration
Not the Stereotypical Immigrant? Lesson Plan
Students will compare and contrast the differences in African immigrants and traditional immigrants using a Venn diagram. Using details from the narrative African Immigration, students will consider the goals of African immigrants and how are they similar and dissimilar to traditional immigrants.
Grade Levels:High school, grades 9-12
For use with:African Immigration
Concentration Area:History
Concentration Area:Social Studies
National Curriculum Standards met by this lesson
The following standards have been taken from the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning ( standards.
Students will understand

  • How recent immigration and migration patterns impacted social and political issues (e.g., major issues that affect immigrants and resulting conflicts; changes in the size and composition of the traditional American family; demographic and residential mobility since 1970).
  • How different groups attempted to achieve their goals (e.g., the grievances of racial and ethnic minorities and their reference to the nation's charter documents to rectify past injustices, local community efforts to adapt facilities for the disabled).
  • The role of ethnicity, cultural identity, and religious beliefs in shaping economic and political conflicts across the globe (e.g., why terrorist movements have proliferated and the extent of their impact on politics and society in various countries; the tensions and contradictions between globalizing trends of the world economy and assertions of traditional cultural identity and distinctiveness, including the challenges to the role of religion in contemporary society; the meaning of jihad and other Islamic beliefs that are relevant to military activity, how these compare to the Geneva Accords, and how such laws and principles apply to terrorist acts).
Time required
One to two class periods
Materials needed
Anticipatory Set

  1. Before they read the narrative, ask students about ethnic immigrant group stereotypes that are out in the media and society. (Teacher Advisory: Prior to the discussion, you should discuss the idea of stereotypes, how they are created, and the potential harm they can cause.)
  2. After reading the narrative African Immigration, you may have students discuss, as a class, what qualities seemed to be most prominent about the African immigrants. For instance: How do these qualities compare to the stereotypes they listed earlier? Does any of the treatment they have received sound familiar?

  1. Hand out a blank Venn diagram to students: One column should be labeled "'Modern African Immigrants'." The second column can be any other major immigrant group: Italian, Irish, or even early African immigrants who were forcibly brought to the Americas. While groups such as Hispanics and Mexicans might prove interesting depending on the local community, it might be better to focus on migrant groups that had to deal with oceanic divisions, as they would have a closer comparison.
  2. If necessary, have students research the second immigrant group they are using for comparison.
  3. After students have finished, have them give their suggestions to create a class version of the Venn.
  4. Once students have completed the class version of the comparison, assign them either to write a short essay on why the two groups of immigrants shared the circumstances they found or to write about the circumstances that made them so different from each other.

Extension Activities

Instead of focusing primarily on the African immigration, students can use the narrative to explore this often-overlooked community within the scope of an immigration unit.

Assess students' work as follows and according to the rubric below: Students should have at least four things the two immigrant groups have in common and at least three concepts that are unique to each group within their Venn diagram.

"Comparing Immigration" Essay Rubric

0= not evident

1= minimal evidence of mastery

2=adequate evidence of mastery

3=strong evidence of mastery

4=outstanding evidence of mastery

In the essay, students will:

__________ analyze historic events and construct a reasonable hypothesis.

__________ integrate points brought out in class discussion and from the narrative.

__________ consider the modern differences in the immigrant groups and what they mean to the groups historically.

__________ demonstrate acceptable organization and structure.

__________ apply appropriate rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling.

__________ (total points x 5= final score: _____________)

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