You can find primary sources and online activities for teaching about immigration on DocsTeach, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives.
On DocsTeach, you can access hundreds of immigration-related primary sources on a variety of topics throughout U.S. history, including:
- Chinese Exclusion
- Immigration quotas
- Mexican immigration
- Immigration-related photographs
- Immigration-related posters
- Ellis Island
- Angel Island
- Immigration following WWII to the present
You can also find activities for teaching about immigration on DocsTeach. In the online activity Chinese Exclusion Broadside Analysis, students go through the process of analyzing a broadside, or poster, to better understand attitudes towards Chinese and other Asian immigrants in the late 1800s.
In the activity How Have Americans Responded to Immigration?, students use our “Weighing the Evidence” tool to determine how documents support a historical argument. First they analyze a variety of documents and photographs related to immigration in the United States. Then they determine whether immigration was welcomed or feared by Americans, and to what degree, by placing each document on the scale according to their analysis.
In a series of new activities titled Exploring America’s Diversity, students analyze primary source documents pertaining to a particular immigrant’s life. They trace this new American’s arrival, settlement, and naturalization, learning about the person and immigration process along the way. These activities were adapted from a popular on-site field trip experience at the National Archives at New York City. There are versions for both younger (elementary) and older (middle and high school) students.
You can find several more immigration-related teaching activities on DocsTeach, including topics such as the Immigration Act of 1924 and war refugees.
Images in this post:
- Foreign-Born Friends who are Applicants for American Citizenship, 1922. From the Publications of the U.S. Government.
- Immigrants Arriving at the Immigration Station on Angel Island, ca. 1931. From the Records of the Public Health Service.
- Chun Jan Yut with His Father Chun Duck Chin, 1899. From the Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
- Remember Your First Thrill of American Liberty, 1917. From the Records of the U.S. Food Administration.
- Demonstration for Immigrant Rights, 4/11/2006. From the General Records of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Declaration of Intention for Luther Theophilus Powell, 12/12/1929. From the Records of District Courts of the United States.
- Declaration of Intention for Gertrud Danneberg, 1/14/1931. From the Records of District Courts of the United States.