Why did Germans immigrate to the Upper Midwest in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century? What contributions did they make to the region's cultural heritage? Students use Library of Congress photographs and documents to answer these questions and others while strengthening their German language skills.
Students will be able to:
Teachers will want to refer to the Using Primary Resources on the Teachers Page.
1. Introduce the lesson: vocabulary, brainstorming, and discussion
Vocabulary. Students should have a working knowledge of the following terms:
What evidence is there of German influence in your family? In the community? (Students may bring in pictures or slides of architecture in their community or region.)
How do we know a person lived? What artifacts exist?
Talk about old artifacts, letters, diaries, etc. (primary sources) that their family owns or knows about that were from an ancestor. Discuss traditions within the family for holidays, etc. Mention typical German customs and traditions and make comparisons with students' families. Move from here to a discussion of immigration and transition into the lesson.
2. Introduce the Library of Congress
3. Examine a primary resource by analyzing a photo
4. Independent Primary Source Analysis
Students read and study additional primary sources from the Resources and consider why Germans immigrated to the United States and the contributions they made to our culture. Some questions to guide their thinking might include:
5. Culminating activity
Create a product designed to entice potential immigrants to the Upper Midwest. Photos and pictures from the web site must be incorporated into the product to make it more appealing. Pictures would be helpful to immigrants who were not literate. Upper level students can assemble a German-language product.
Mary Alice Anderson and Kim Pernod