Immigrants' Experiences

Grade Levels: 3 - 5


  • Students will use vocabulary related to turn-of-the-century immigrant life in New York City.
  • Students will appreciate some of the challenges and difficulties of family life for immigrants.
  • Students will understand how the families' lives were shaped by the environment in which they lived.



  1. Introduce key vocabulary: boarder, citizen, crockery, immigrants, tenement, urban.
  2. Have students complete the Immigrants' Experiences worksheet after they visit The Urban Log Cabin website. This activity can be completed individually or with a partner.
  3. Set up a time when students can share their work, and a place for them to display their drawings.


Use students' worksheet responses to evaluate their ability to gather information about immigrant families from a website. Assign a point value for each response.

Extensions Activities

  • Choose from a large collection of cross-curricular activities for all grade levels.
  • Explore outstanding lessons and activities on Immigration.
  • Have students create a neighborhood or community portrait, working in pairs or small groups. Direct them to the Neighborhood portrait page of the PBS website and tell them to click on the step-by-step instructions.
  • Have students present their portraits to the class or school. Encourage them to focus on a specific aspect of their community that interests them.

Standards Correlations

National Social Studies Standards

Students develop an understanding of:

  • how human beings create, learn, apply, modify, and adapt to their cultures.
  • relationships between human beings and their environment.
  • their historical roots and are able to locate themselves in time.
  • how reading about and reconstructing the past allows them to develop a historical perspective.
  • places and regions and the interactions of environment and society.

National Educational Technology Standards


  • practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
  • use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

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