Middle School Activities

American Literature Reading 17: Immigrant Life
Students read and answer questions about a selection from Alfred Kazin’s “The Kitchen,” set in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1920s. In this piece, Kazin remembers the conditions in which his family lived, how his mother supported that family, and the different challenges she faced.

Biography Activity 17C: Jacob Riis
Students read and answer questions about photojournalist Jacob Riis, his use of photography to expose the terrible living conditions experienced by immigrants in the late 1800s, and his efforts to improve those conditions.

Chart, Graph and Map Skills Activity 17: Creating a Pictograph
This activity provides a basic description of what a pictograph is and how to create one. Students practice interpreting pictographs by answering questions about immigration based on a pictograph. They also create their own pictographs about immigration to the United States in 1914. Students then answer questions based on the same immigration statistics they used to create their pictographs.

Geography and History Activity 17: Cities Within Cities: Ethnic Enclaves
Students read about how industrialization and immigration increased the populations of cities in the United States after the Civil War. They also learn about the development of ethnic enclaves and the living and working conditions that many immigrants experienced there.

Interpreting Political Cartoons Activity - A Nation of Immigrants
Students analyze two political cartoons by Jospeh Keppler. They then draw conclusions about what the images reveal about attitudes toward immigration in the United States during the 1880s and 1890s and how those attitudes changed over time.

Step Into American History Activity 17: Cultural Exposition 1 & 2
Students read about how immigration to the United States changed from 1865 to 1900 and the reactions of many Americans to these changes. They then answer questions based on what they have read. In Cultural Exposition 2 Students choose an immigrant group and prepare a display highlighting the group’s characteristics and customs, settlement patterns, political and cultural contributions, notable group members, and any opposition the group encountered.