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trexteach trexteach is offline
Joined: Aug 2006
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trexteach's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 4,016
Senior Member
ideas for immigration
Old 02-02-2008, 09:52 AM

1) We intro our immigration unit by giving groups of 4 all the same craft-like materials: ex. glue sticks, popsicle sticks, plastic cups, index cards, staplers, tape, string, construction paper, foil, stickers, etc. Really, anything could be used as long as each group has the same size, shape, color, and number of objects.
The task:Each group is given about 20 min. to create a "creature". They may use any of the materials provided. The catch is, they are absolutely forbidden to speak to one another in words or writing. Gestures and facial expressions are okay, but no other communication.
The result: When time's up, each group is given time to display their version of a "creature" and explain the pros and cons of working in a group that couldn't communicate in words or written responses. The general consensus is that it was very frustrating and that they found it difficult to share how they thought part of the "creature" should be put together.
The purpose: This intros immigration because we tie in their frustrations to that of all the immigrants entering our country without the knowledge of the languages of the majority of people they encountered. The kids have so much fun with this.

2) I also do an immigration simulation where I set up the room like Ellis Island. Each student is given a role like: eye exam doctor, general doctor, hospital building nurse, security officer, ticket master, interrogator (Asks questions such as how much money do you have? Where will you live? Are you planning on overthrowing the gov't? Do you already have a job lined up? Can you read/write, etc.), immigrants from various countries, and interpreters who speak one or more languages. Each student is given a card that explains his/her role and their particular situation.
For instance:
*An immigrant may have to walk with a limp while walking up the main staircase. The examiner at the top of the stairs will consider the person lame, and not permit him/her into the country. Instead, he/she will have to go the hospital building until it is decided if he/she can remain in the country or be sent back.
*A doctor may be given a card that says he/she must only allow three immigrants to pass. Each immigrant will have a black piece of construction paper pinned to his/her back. The doctors will mark with chalk a code that indicates if the immigrant has any ailments such as back trouble, eye problems, mental illness, etc.
*An immigrant may have a card that says he/she cannot find any interpreters who speak his/her language. Therefore, that immigrant is to get very, very angry. Security has to be called, and the person is considered to have a mental illness. Of course, this gets the immigrant sent home.

The kids like this and it makes for some interesting photos. At the end the kids will reflect on their feelings during the experience. Some state how disappointed they were by not being permitted into the country; others will say how frustrating it was that they couldn't find anyone who spoke their language; others will end up saying how happy they were to make it through the whole process.
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