For Teachers

Interested in using Global Boston in your classroom? This page has been developed especially for educators, making use of the website’s growing set of resources on immigration history in greater Boston. It features a unit plan that includes seven ready-to-use lesson plans on different aspects of immigration history, plus a final project.

The lesson plans can be used together or separately as needed. They are designed to align with the 2018 Massachusetts curriculum framework for US History I and II at the high school level, but can be adapted for other grade levels.

In this place-based history unit, students will use Boston as the basis for a study of key concepts, trends, and changes in immigration to the United States. In addition, students will focus on a neighborhood in Boston to frame their research on how immigrants change and impact a place, and they will complete a “Sharing Immigrant Stories” oral history project. This unit, created by Sol Christine Rheem (M.Ed, Boston College), uses the material of Global Boston as the vehicle for a place-based community investigation.

For a full curriculum map of this immigrant history unit, please click here.  To see individual lesson plans, click on the boxes below.

Italian And Other Workers Building The East Boston Tunnel, 1900. Courtesy Of The City Of Boston Archives.

Lesson 1: Immigrants Building Boston, 1820s-1920s

Using evidence from an interactive map, students will explore how Irish and Italian immigrants contributed to Boston’s development in the 19th and early 20th centuries. (MA Framework: US I, Topic 6, Standard 29). View lesson plan…

Half Moon Place 1849

Lesson 2: Primary Sources on Immigrant Life

Drawing on primary sources, students will describe the challenges that Boston’s earlier immigrants faced in their work and living conditions. (MA Framework: US I, Topic 6, Standard 29). View lesson plan…

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Lesson 3: Immigration Law and Restriction

In this lesson, students will examine the immigration restriction acts of the 1920s and their effects on Boston’s foreign-born population. They will also interpret a political cartoon from 1921 to discern the image’s message. (MA Framework: USII, Topic 2, Standard 12). View lesson plan…

EB Imm Station

Lesson 4: East Boston Immigration Station

Students will read portions of a US government report on the old East Boston Immigration Station to learn about the workings of the immigration system. They will also examine and interpret an 1896 cartoon about turn-of-the-century attitudes toward immigrants. (MA Framework: US II, Topic 2, Standard 12). View lesson plan…

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Lesson 5: Immigration to Boston Since 1965

Using data from maps and charts on the foreign-born population of Boston, students will learn how the 1965 Immigration Act changed the city demographically, fostering global immigration that helped rebuild the city. (MA Framework: US II, Topic 5, Standard 42). View lesson plan…

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Lesson 6: Comparing and Contrasting the New and Old Immigration

In this lesson, students will compare and contrast older and newer immigrant groups in Boston, exploring their origins, reasons for migration, settlement patterns, and occupations. It also looks at new categories of refugees and asylees since World War II. (MA Framework: US II, Topic 5. Standard 42). View lesson plan…

Once Known For Its Italian Eateries, East Boston Now Has Colombian-owned Pizzerias, Like This One Which Serves Latin American Specialties Such As Arepas And Empanadas. Photo By Jorge Caravallo.

Lesson 7: Push and Pull in East Boston

Moving to the neighborhood level, this lesson has students explore how recent immigrants have settled and integrated into the community of East Boston. They’ll use research and oral interviews to analyze the challenges newcomers face and some of the contributions they have made to the city’s cultural life. (MA Framework: US II, Topic 5, Standard 42). View lesson plan…

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Project: Sharing Our Immigrant Stories

In this project, students will conduct an oral history interview with an immigrant–themselves, teachers, family members, or others in the community. Using the free Re-Imagining Migration app, they will create a video narration of one immigrant’s story, which can then be compared to those of others or themselves. View project plan…

Teachers: We'd Like Your Input!

If you have used some part of Global Boston in your classroom and have ideas for new content, or lesson plans you’d like to share, please let us know. We’d appreciate your suggestions. Please contact our K-12 Outreach coordinator, Sol Rheem, crheem@k12.somerville.ma.us.