Immigration Reform (SIM Lesson Plans)

The purpose of this learning module is to help students learn how a U.S. Senator might address an issue of public significance under consideration in the United States Congress. Learning about personal, state, party, and national interests will help students understand representation more fully. The pre-visit examines how elected representation works. The post-visit lesson supports critical analysis of each student’s strategic choices and votes, preparing them to defend their efforts.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Legislative Branch/Congress
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The History of Immigration Law in the United States

This lesson provides a background on the history of immigration policy in the United States, that is the philosophical origins, legal debates, and legal history from the Founding of the nation to the late 1900s. Students will come to understand how American lawmakers viewed immigrants and the reasoning behind the evolving nature of immigration policy.

  • Resource Type: Editorial Cartoons, Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Lesson Plan for Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood by Richard Rodriguez

This lesson is designed to be used in a unit on immigrant experiences or integration of peoples, but it can easily be adapted for general discussions on characterization and character changes in a story. The son of Mexican immigrants, Richard Rodriguez grew up in a mixed-race neighborhood in California. In this opening chapter of his autobiography, Hunger of Memory, Rodriguez describes the tensions of navigating the Spanish-speaking world of his home and the English-speaking world of school.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Immigration eLesson

The United States of America is a nation of immigrants. From its colonial origins to the present day there has been a steady stream of would-be Americans; however, the laws pertaining to immigrants have changed and evolved over time. This lesson will look at previous immigration laws, and highlight the constitutional issues that have arisen out of immigration policy.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Deliberation Materials: Immigration

Should the U.S. government make it easier for unauthorized immigrants who came to this country as children to pay for college? This activity includes a deliberation reading and glossary, as well as accompanying handouts to give students additional information on the topic and to guide them through the deliberation process from planning to reflection. 

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject:
  • Grades:

Deliberation Materials: “Sanctuary Cities”

Classroom deliberation materials provide classroom-ready readings presenting the issue background and arguments on both sides. These materials focus on the issue of “sanctuary cities.” Should cities or counties be able to declare themselves “sanctuaries” and refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests?

  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: State/Local Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Civics Flash Cards for the Naturalization Test

This flash card set of 100 questions and answers was developed to help immigrants prepare for the naturalization test. By providing questions and answers about U.S. history and government, they also are a great tool to use in the classroom for citizenship preparation. Note that some answers may vary from state to state while others may change because of elections or appointments. The flash cards were created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and last revised in February 2012.

  • Resource Type: Games, Interactives
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Meaning of Columbus Day

Columbus Day is a most unusual American holiday, as it commemorates an event that occurred well before the United States was even a nation. In this ebook, we explore the historical Columbus as well as the man as symbol for American life, tracing connections between Columbus Day and the discovery of the New World, the spirit of exploration, and the immigrant experience. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Arizona v. United States

Students will examine a controversial law passed in the state of Arizona that directs law enforcement officers to investigate suspected unauthorized immigration. They will recognize the constitutional issues of preemption, reasonable suspicion, and equal protection and relate them to the facts of the Arizona law. Students will then judge whether several sets of facts are valid examples of reasonable suspicion.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: State/Local Government
  • Grades: 10, 11