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I'm Going on an Immigration

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 4th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1

Time Frame

2 class periods of 45 minutes each


Carissa Chacon


Students learn about the experience of being an immigrant, which requires the traveler to plan for the journey, to pack, and to make difficult decisions. People from many cultures have created trunks or others containers to hold their belongings while they travel. The size of the carrying device limits the number of personal possessions, mementos, and material goods brought from home to begin a new life.


Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will understand what immigration is, and why people immigrated to the United States and to Utah.

Instructional Procedures


Ask the students if any of them have moved? Why did they move? What did they bring with them? Did they have to leave any family behind when they moved?

  1. Evaluate students' current knowledge of immigration. Ask if they know the difference between an immigrant and a refugee. Discuss whether immigrants and refugees still come to the Salt Lake Valley, or any other area in Utah.
  2. Discuss the vocabulary worksheet. Read the stories of 3 recent immigrants as well as an older story.
  3. Brainstorm about the contents of an immigrant's trunk, and then discuss what individuals today would pack if they were moving and had limited space. Consider the following reasons for bringing certain items:
    • to remind someone of home to remind someone of family
    • to entertain someone on a trip
    • to be useful
    • to tell other people about who someone is.
  4. Ask students to discuss with family members the items that each would take if the family moved. If any students and their families have moved recently, have them share the difficult decisions their family made.
  5. Using the school's media center or local public library, have the students research pictures of immigrants from any era. Ask students to list the items that immigrants brought and the containers in which they brought them.
  6. Have students create a personal trunk. This activity could be done as individuals, in pairs of students, or as teams. Pick a standard size box (26 by 18 by 16 inches high) for the trunk, or allow students to create a carrier that reflects a different culture, such as a basket.
  7. Decide the items to place in it: clothes, blankets, toys, kitchen utensils, books, photos, keepsakes, food, and others. Use real things when possible, but simulate those that are too difficult to use. Decide to make the box look old or new. Have students decorate the box as a trunk.
  8. Display the trunks, and instruct students to explain their choices, either during a presentation or as part of the display.

Created: 08/22/2008
Updated: 02/05/2018