The students will be able to define the following terms emigrant, immigrant, naturalization, and oath; will use the internet to research the process of becoming a US Citizen; and will be able to accurately describe the process of becoming a naturalized United States citizen.
1. The teacher will begin the lesson by reading a picture book about immigration aloud to the class. Included with this lesson is a PDF list of this type of picture books that discusses immigration from a number of countries. Many of these books should be able to be located in most school libraries. If you are aware of a book not included on this list feel free to use it. Following the reading the teacher will lead a discussion about the topic of immigration. Questions will vary according to the choice of books but should include some basic questions such as: Why did the main character choose to leave their home country? Was the journey easy or difficult? What problems might the characters face in their new country? Does living in a country make you a citizen of that country?
2. The second portion of this lesson is to introduce the vocabulary. The essential terms to this lesson are emigration, immigration, naturalization and oath. This vocabulary can be introduced in any way the teacher normally introduces vocabulary. Some examples may be journaling the words and their definitions, searching online individually or in small groups, Drawing pictures (this might be effective with immigration and emigration), using them in sentences etc. It is important the students understand the difference between immigration and emigration, so it might be fun to create a poster with the US on one side and a country of origin or even a continent such as Europe, Asia, or Africa with a person in between. There could be an arrow from the place of origin pointing to the person and above that arrow would be the word emigration. Then there would be another arrow from the person to the US above which would say immigration. This is optional to the lesson but it might be fun and informative for the students.
3. The final step to the lesson is for the students to research the process for an immigrant to become a US citizen. If a computer lab is available the students can find this information at the first website listed below. If not, the site can be printed and used as an informational handout. The students will then complete the graphic organizer entitled Becoming a US Citizen that is also included with this website. This lesson may be assessed with a brief teacher created quiz or by having the students use the Graphic Organizer to write a “How to” essay on becoming a US Citizen.
This lesson may be extended by having the students fill out a brief citizenship application and study for and take a citizenship test. These activities are included on the website listed in the linkable resources section of this lesson plan. If the teacher wants to get more in depth with these questions a complete 100 question citizenship examination is located in link #3 of the Sources and Resources section of this lesson plan.
Becoming a Citizen
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Civics (History and Government) Questions for the Naturalization Test
Children, Families, and Immigration: Picture Books
This lesson was developed by Robert McClelland, Cleveland Metropolitan School District.