Lesson Summary – Family History

Lesson Name:  Family History

Source:  The Academy Curriculum Exchange –  This is an area where teachers can find a variety of lesson plans including the original group of 700 lesson plans which came from the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshops. These lessons were done by a consortium of teachers from 14 states and cover a broad subject base.

Link to Lesson:  http://ofcn.org/cyber.serv/academy/ace/soc/cecsst/cecsst032.html

NCSCOS Alignment:  Could be applied to different objectives depending upon grade level, for example – 6th Grade Social Studies Competency Goal 13, Objective 13.01 or 8th Grade Social Studies Competency Goal 1, Objective 1.07.

Summary:  This lesson allows students the opportunity to work closely with their own family to identify their ancestors, appreciate their ethnic backgrounds, gain a better understanding of the concept of immigration, connect historical events with movements of their ancestors, become more aware of their own individuality as it relates to cultural origins.  This will guide students to the realization that the United States is a melting pot and thus lead to the primary purpose of this assignment:  To help the students understand that America is politically, ethnically, culturally, and economically a nation of immigration and that their role in our development as a nation is critical.

The assignment involves extensive research by the students and their families into the first Americans immigrants in their genealogy, with a focus on the motivations for immigration, the difficulties of their journey to America, the problems of adapting to their new life, and the unique cultural traditions they brought with them.  This process involves the student conducting family interviews,gathering documents and records about their immigrant ancestors, researching then writing a brief history of their country of origin, and writing a report on their family tree. Students present their written and oral findings to the class, which should also contain visual aids such pictures, items from the “old country”, music, family heirlooms, posters, etc.

There are many things I like about this lesson that would entice me to use it for my own students, such as 1) giving students a personal investment in the lesson (investigating their own ancestry) engages them more in the learning process, 2) Students gain a richer understanding of the history of the US and the role immigration played in its evolvement, and 3) they gain a sense of pride in their own family heritage and an appreciation for cultural diversity throughout the experience.

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