United States Immigration Station at Angel Island


Angel Island 090-P0069481

General Description
Students study the major turning points in American history through the lens of immigration with an emphasis on the people who came through the United States Immigration Station on Angel Island. Students will explore this perspective by analyzing visual artifacts, video, and poetry of the immigrants who were detained on the island. They will explore this story through the context of what was happening in California and the United States through an interactive timeline. In the end the students will begin asking questions of how their families came to the USA; what is THEIR immigrant story? The goal of the park is to connect visitors today with the many issues and situations that immigrants faced on Angel Island over 100 years ago, and help visitors explore their own family stories and the stories of immigrants today.

 This unit must be taught and explored thoughtfully and conscientiously. Teachers, please be cognizant of how your students may respond to the subject of immigration and their immigrant stories emotionally, socially, and politically.

The unit consists of four lessons: three lesson activities aligned with Content Standards in History/Social Science and Common Core State Standards in History/Social Science, and one live videoconference lesson with the Angel Island State Park Interpreter. The unit can be used alone for the purpose of exploring Immigration, Preserving History in Our California State Parks, or as a component of a larger unit that focuses on Changing People of The United States, Change Over Time, etc.

Click HERE to schedule this program

Essential Questions
1.  Who is an immigrant?
2.  What did immigration look like in the USA from 1850 to 1965?
3.  Why do we call the United States a nation of immigrants?
4.  What is your family's immigrant story?

Academic Content Standard Subject: History/Social Science

Grade Level: 11th grade
*Accommodations can be made for any class that teaches US History or Immigration.

Primary Academic Content Standards: 4.4.3, 4.4.4; 11.11, 11.11.1

Primary Common Core State Standards:
4th Grade          11th Grade
RI 4.2                 RL 11.6
W 4.9                 RH 11.2 
SL 4.1                WHST 11.9
                          SL 11.1

Time Required:
3-4 classroom periods of 45 minutes each
1 videoconference lesson (one class period)
Option for extension activities are included

Upon completing the classroom lessons and participating in the videoconference, students will be able to:

  • Identify multiple perspectives about immigration
  • Connect where the story of Angel Island fits in the USA timeline of historical events
  • Use primary and secondary documents to enrich class discussions
  • Use analytic skills to discern meaning from a primary document
  • Ask questions about their own family history

Vocabulary List

Academic Contributor: Christina Lunde, Classroom Teacher