4th Grade Immigration Inquiry
Did the American Dream Come True for Immigrants Who Came to New York?
Download Entire Inquiry Here

In staging the compelling question “Did the American Dream come true for immigrants who came to New York?” teachers might begin by reading aloud Emma Lazarus’s  poem “The New Colossus” and asking students to brainstorm why she wrote it.
  • Source A: Emma Lazarus, poem about immigrants to American, “The New Colossus,” 1883 
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.  "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Public domain.

Supporting Question 1- Why did people move to New York and what were their hopes?
Supporting Question 2- What was life like for immigrants in New York?

Source A: Source bank: Immigrant experiences settling in New York

Source B: Image bank: Working conditions

Supporting Question 3- How did immigrant groups adapt to and shape the culture of New York?
  • Source A: Library of Congress, website featuring information about immigrants, Immigration
New York State Social Studies Framework Key Idea & Practices 4.7 IMMIGRATION AND MIGRATION FROM THE EARLY 1800S TO THE PRESENT: Many people have immigrated and migrated to New York State, contributing to its cultural growth and development.
 Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence      Chronological Reasoning and Causation
 Comparison and Contextualization                      Civic Participation
In addition to the Key Idea listed earlier, this inquiry highlights the following Conceptual Understanding:
(4.7a) Immigrants came to New York State for a variety of reasons. Many immigrants arriving in New York City were greeted by the sight of the Statue of Liberty and were processed through Ellis Island.