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        3-5, 13+

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        Iowa | Activity 5.1: Iowans from Everywhere

        Students watch a video about the cultural history of Iowa, and learn about the groups of people who came to the state and why. They then do further research about the groups, and write a letter from the perspective of an immigrant explaining their reasons for moving to Iowa.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video about the cultural history of Iowa, and learn about the groups of people who came to the state and why. They then do further research about the groups, and write a letter from the perspective of an immigrant explaining their reasons for moving to Iowa.

        This lesson is a part of "Great States: Unit 5: Iowa’s Cultures." In this unit, students will consider some of the many groups who have shaped the unique culture of Iowa.

        Time Allotment

        40 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        FL.SS.3.16: Describe how people take risks to improve their family income through education, career changes and moving to new places. 

        SS.5.4: Identify evidence that draws information from multiple perspectives and sources in response to a compelling question.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Ask students if they know how, why, or when their families came to Iowa. Teachers may want to share their own stories. Then, point out that, except for Iowa’s native peoples, everyone’s family has come to Iowa from someplace else.

        2. Indicate that students will be watching a short video about some of the groups who have come to Iowa throughout its history. While watching the video, have students consider why members of these various groups chose to move to Iowa (employment opportunity; religious freedom; land availability; by invitation/for safety; cultural acceptance; etc.).

        3. Distribute the Cultures of Iowa Graphic Organizer and tell students to take notes on the groups listed on the left.

          Play the video, Great States | Iowa Culture. [4:43]

        4. After watching the film, have students share what they have learned about the various groups.

        5. Then, put students in pairs and have them research one of the sub-groups listed on the organizer. Appropriate books, printouts, and/or computers with Internet access should be assembled ahead of time. The goal of the research is to learn about each group’s motivation for coming to Iowa, what types of jobs or roles they had, and what successes or failures they found in Iowa. Allow fifteen minutes for this activity.

        6. Have a spokesperson from each pair recite what they found about their assigned group.

        Extend the lesson (15 minutes or take-home assignment):

        Using the information from the video and the additional research information, instruct students to write a letter from the perspective of a person from one of the cultures. The letter should be addressed to friends or family in their country of origin telling them why they chose to come to Iowa and how this choice is working out. Make sure students include a header, body, closure, and signature in their letters.

        Answer Key:

         

        Reason for Coming to Iowa

        Way of Life (rules, traditions, family system, economic activity, arts)

        Impact on Iowa

        French and French Canadians

        Economic/employment: hunt and trap beavers for fur

         

        -Long-term impact was low, but likely helped Iowa become known to other potential immigrants who would actually settle

        Communal Groups

        • Icarians
        • Amana Society
        • Old Order Amish

        -Freedom to assemble and live their ideals; available land and economic opportunities for entire groups

         

        -Traditions still celebrated in festivals

        -Cultural diversity

        Religious Groups

        • Catholics
        • Protestants
        • Mormons
        • Muslims

        Religious freedom and economic opportunity

         

        - Cornerstone for communities

        -Support through hard times

        Recent immigrants

        • Vietnamese
        • Bosnians
        • Sudanese
        • Mexicans

        -Safety

        -Economic opportunity

        -Some are invited by the state

         

        -Cultural diversity

        -Population growth

        -Larger workforce

        -New traditions

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