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The following activities will help students understand the experience of early Asian immigrants and the obstacles they encountered as they struggled to make a living and find a place in American society.

Activity 1: Life as an Immigrant
Have students work singly or in small "family" groups and imagine that they are immigrants to a new land. They do not speak the language of the new country. Their religion is entirely different from that of the people around them. They have never held a paying job, although they did work on their family farm in their native country. Ask students where in the new land they would seek to live, what size community they would prefer, what kind of job they would try to find, what they would do with the money they earned, and what they would do with their free time. Have them reflect on the emotions they would feel as they went about constructing this new life. Hold a general discussion after students have had 15 or 20 minutes to work, or have individuals or groups write a short essay describing their experiences.

Activity 2: Ethnic Enclaves
Have students research the history of their own community through local histories and photographs. What was the economic base of the community; that is, why was it founded and what kinds of work did the residents originally do? How does this compare with Walnut Grove and Locke? Ask students to find out if there are neighborhoods in the community that were, or are, identified with particular ethnic groups. What brought these groups to their community? Did they live near where they worked? Was the area where they lived similar to or different from other neighborhoods? Have the students visit a number of these neighborhoods to see if the ethnic groups have left traces. Have them note types of architecture and/or architectural details, church denominations, signs, specialty stores and restaurants, annual festivals, and clubs and fraternal organizations. Have them compare the physical traces left in these enclaves with the photos of Locke and Walnut Grove.

 

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