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Lesson Plan Unit "China in America"

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Cristina Hernandez
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Lesson Plan Unit "China in America"

Connecting China and America: Research Project

Grades: 9-12

Unit “China in America”

Estimated time 6 sessions



Students will make real-world connections between two countries.  They will develop a better understanding of the history both countries have in common and the importance of learning about other cultures that have influenced our own.  The students will take on specific roles such as archivist, manager, techie, or researcher. Students become active archivists, gathering photos, artifacts, interviews, and stories for a museum exhibit that highlights Chinese immigration to America and Chinese contributions to America.  The final product will be displayed and presented in the classroom.  This lesson plan is adapted from an NCTE published lesson “Connecting Past and Present”



National Standards for the English Language Arts

·      Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

·      Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

·      Students conduct research on issues.  They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources.


Resources and Preparation:


Materials and Technology

·      Digital Cameras

·      Computers

·      Scanner

·      Museum Exhibit handout

·      Museum Exhibit Project Rubric

·      Research Group Roles

·      Reflection Handout


·      Gather enough supplies for each student

·      Prepare copies of handouts for each student

·      Gather information regarding the local Chinatown

·      Make sure there is access to technology


Instructional Plan


Student Objectives:

·      Students will discover connections between two cultures

·      Students will conduct research using a variety of sources

·      Students will interview people

·      Students will identify applicable artifacts

·      Students will organize collected artifacts

·      Students will create museum displays.


Session One

1.     Students will respond to the journal prompt:  What are the main commonalities between China and the USA? When did Chinese people begin immigrating to America?  Have you visit a Chinatown close to our community?

2.     After finishing their journals students will discuss their responses and the teacher will dispel any misconceptions.

Session Two

1.     Introduce the research project to the students and create teams.

2.     Assign roles to each team member and distribute handouts to each student

3.     Go over each handout and explain the responsibilities and due dates.

Session Three

1.     Watch documentary on Chinese immigration and contributions to the world.

2.     Take notes and formulate research questions.

Session Four

1.     Conduct research on the internet and gather data

2.     Take a virtual field trip to the local Chinatown and gather data

Session Five

1.     Students share their findings and decide what artifact they will present in the museum exhibit

2.     Students polish their artifacts and their narratives

Session Six

1.     Students present to the class their artifacts and evaluate each other’s presentations.

2.     Students reflect on their research projects.



·      Students might take a field trip to the local Chinatown and create a photo journal.

·      Students might want to interview a community member whose heritage is Chinese.

·      Students might want to sample some Chinese food from an authentic Chinese restaurant and compare it to the American-Chinese food.




Handout Museum Exhibit Project Checkpoints


Due Date

Completed Date

Student comments

Teacher’s comments

Group Role Selection





Complete Exhibit planner sheet





Internet Research





Artifact Creation and Narrative







Museum Exhibit Planner


Discuss how your group will complete this project.  In other words, what is your plan? Answer the following questions.


1.     What is the topic of your exhibit?

2.     What do you already know about your topic?

3.     What specific information do you want to learn about the topic?

4.     List five questions you have about your topic?

5.     Describe your plan for collecting information.

6.     List the research sources you anticipate using.

7.     Describe your plan for organizing and displaying artifacts.



Research Group Roles


After selecting your group member’s roles record them below:

·      Manager – Keeps group members on task; communicates with the teacher; provides leadership

·      Reporter – Keeper of all records; manages paper; tracks “who is doing what”

·      Techie – Manages the group’s technology needs (computers, cameras, scanners, etc.); knows how to use technology or is willing and able to learn new technology as needed for this project.

·      Archivist – Organizes found stories, photos, and artifacts

·      Researchers – all group members participate in the research process, actively researching their topic.

Group Roles:



Student Reflection-Evaluation



Group Role: How did I contribute to my group’s success on this project by performing my group role?

Exhibit Content: How does the content of my group’s museum exhibit clearly relate to the main topic? Is the topic covered completely and in depth?

Creativity: What elements of our exhibit make it interesting and fun? What areas show that we put a lot of thought into making our exhibit?