I have implemented this lesson with a variety of different grades and the result is always profound.
The class is divided into two groups. In separate rooms, members of each group are given introvert or extrovert characteristics to role-play. For example, introvert characteristics would include quiet speech, not making eye contact, and wanting to stay in their group with hands at their sides. They are very serious. Extroverts, on the other hand, speak loudly with lots of hand gestures and make clear eye contact with others. They like to tell jokes and meet new people.
First the students are asked to pick a name for their group. This process brings them together and helps them see themselves as a whole.
Next they practice their characteristics. The teacher moves through the group and prompts them on their acting.
Once both groups are comfortable with their roles, the two groups are brought together and interact for a short period of time. This would be no longer than five minutes. They are then instructed to go back to their seats.
The teacher then calls on individual students to talk about how they felt when they met this new group of people and he or she writes them on the board. Each time I have done this lesson, the comments have been overwhelmingly negative, with participants expressing feelings of disrespect and even anger. Count or tally the positive and negative comments and ask students what conclusion they can draw from this social experiment.
The idea that most people have after this exercise and the purpose of it is to see that it is human nature to be distrustful of people we do not know, and with this knowledge, we are better prepared to meet and interact with people from a different culture.
Lesson 2: Citizenship Test
In order to become a U.S. citizen one must get at least seven out of ten question correct. There are 100 possible questions that range in difficulty from: "Who is the Commander in Chief" to "Name one of the writers of the Federalist Papers." The cost of the citizenship test is $680.00 and 92% of immigrants pass on their first try.
As a class, choose 10 questions and require students test 10 people who are citizens by right of their birth, outside of the classroom. Most times very few will pass.
When all the data is collected students can graph correct answers in a number of ways using the whole classes' data or just their own.
An added benefit to this is that students will have memorized these facts!
Lesson 3: Interactive Map
The New York Times has a beautiful interactive map that allows users to manipulate data on immigration trends since 1880.
Students can navigate this map by choosing different decades and countries of origin. They can then point to any county in America and learn the population for that date and the number of people born in that respective country.
Lesson 4: Prezi
In pairs or small groups, students will create Prezi presentations on one of the ten most populous sending countries: Mexico (11.7 million), China (2.2), India (1.8), Philippians (1.8), Vietnam (1.2), El Salvador (1.2), Cuba (1.1), Korea (1.1), Dominican Republic (.9), Guatemala (.8).
Students will research push and pull factors and topics like religion, holidays, food, ect. A rubric could be developed by the class as a whole prior to research, and the teacher can include the rubric in the comment section of the presentation.