Fourth Grade Historians: A Thematic Approach to Immigration

Henry, Elizabeth Egan. “Fourth Grade Historians: A Thematic Approach to Immigration.” Social Studies and the Young Learner (2016): 4-7. NCSS, January/February 2008. Web.

In the article “Fourth Grade Historians: A Thematic Approach to Immigration,” the teacher of a 4th grade class helps her students develop analytical skills that are necessary to interpret primary sources and make historical connections to the debate involving immigration. The teacher introduced the unit by reading Coming to America: The story of Immigration by Betsy Maestro. The students then examined primary and secondary sources about immigration from the 19th century through the present. The teacher then brought to life immigration stories by reading stories and interviews aloud in class. This helped students develop a sense of curiosity and understanding about immigration. During the second half of the unit, the students conduced research and interviewed a relative or friend on their family history and immigration story. The students then assessed each other’s research in cooperative groups. This activity helped students learn about an important topic in the United States and allowed them to personally connect to immigration by conducting an interview with someone close to them.


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