Link to CTHSS Main Website
Vinal Technical High School
60 Daniels Street, Middletown, CT 06457 Telephone: (860) 344-7100, FAX: (860) 344-2162
Link to Connecticut State Department of Education Website

Ms. Casey/Ms. Sullivan
Immigration and Cultural Diversity Web Quest
An Internet Web Quest on

U.S. Immigration and Cultural Diversity

Essential Question:  Have different immigrants in history struggled more than others economically, culturally, and politically? Why? 


Welcome. You have come through the door to begin a new life in America . It has been a difficult journey. Your life in the United States will be different from the life you left behind. As an immigrant, you came to the United States of America for a reason. It could have been to escape persecution, to improve your life, or to live in freedom.

Castle Garden , Ellis Island and Angel Island became gateway/process to go through to start a new life for many people from all over the world.

The Quest

As an incoming immigrant, your group will research one of the nationality's ancestral roots. You will answer questions that will allow us to know about your selected ethnic group.  You will submit thee journal entries (each person will be responsible for one) explaining to me about your life in the Old World, your life in the New World/your journey to the New World, and your dreams for your NEW LIFE (rubrics will be provided).

The Process and Resources

Background: Something for Everyone

Use the Internet information linked below to accomplish your tasks. Be creative in exploring the information so that your group completes the assignments as fully and insightfully as you can.  Your group will be assigned to you.


  • Internet Modern History Sourcebook: US Immigration - This site is an excellent resource for those trying to learn more about the history of immigration to the United States .
  • The National Park Service - Everything you ever wanted to know about Ellis Island .
  • The American Immigration Homepage - A wonderful page full of useful information on immigration (e.g. reasons for immigration, ports of arrival, reception by other Americans, etc.)
  • Reasons for Immigration - Visit this site to find out the reasons why immigrants from around the world have come to the United States .
  • From One Life to Another - Immigration has come to shape the very world we live in today, especially in Europe and America . Even so, it is oftentimes easy for people to forget their pasts, no matter how relevant it is to their current situation. From One Life to Another seeks to rectify this problem by combining the stories of the past with the technical innovations of today. This site follows immigrants from their home countries, across the Atlantic , and eventually to their new lives in America . The site explores varying aspects of this world-wide cultural change and allows visitors to test their knowledge of the subjects covered. In addition, users can add their own articles and stories to the site, thereby creating a true account of the immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Letters from an Immigrant - Bertha Starke Geerdts came to Milwaukee from Germany .
  • Ellis Island (official site) - The official site of Ellis Island gives a brief introduction to the museum near the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor . Many students can probably trace their ancestors to this center, where 12 million immigrants passed on their way to new lives between 1892 and 1954. This is a site of information for prospective visitors to Ellis Island , but it also contains an activity that will engage online visitors to take part in the history of the island. The American Immigrant Wall of Honor allows visitors to search for immigrants' names and to add names as appropriate. Simply have first and last name and country of origin handy to conduct your search of all the immigrants processed here!
  • The Many Faces of America: Immigration - Immigrants come to the United States from many countries. This site lists some of the countries immigrants came from in 1998.
  • The City: Myths and Realities - The site discusses myths and realities related to immigration issues.
  • Angel Island: California's Immigration Station - This site describes the processing of Asian immigrants through Angel Island in San Francisco Bay - the ' Ellis Island ' of the west.
  • Fast Facts on Today's Newcomers - A quick overview of facts related to current U.S. immigration issues.
  • Ellis Island Cookbook - Every country has its own traditions around food and eating. Favorite foods and recipes are a big part of the 'culture' immigrants to the U.S. brought with them. If you follow the link to the Featured Recipe, you will find out what this month's recipe is, where it came from and if it is a food prepared for a particular holiday or time of year.
  • The Immigration Experience - Immigrants didn't always enter New York through Ellis Island . This page presents the history of Castle Garden (also known as Castle Clinton).
  • Castle Clinton National Monument - A brief history of Castle Garden (today, it is known as Castle Clinton National Monument ).

Your group must have the information below included in your final report with the Questions B and you must individually each answer questions 1 - 13:

As the immigrant, you will provide your information for your book on the following topics:

Your nationality and ethnicity

Your family's names, ages, and occupations

An explanation of your culture such as the customs, language, and food of your homeland

Your reason/reasons for leaving

Your experiences on the ship (include the length of the journey and conditions aboard the ship)

A. Questions your group must try to answer:

  1. When did the majority of the migration occur? Were there other "waves" of immigration that occurred after the initial dates?
  2. What had been happening in their "homeland" that encouraged or forced many people to leave?
  3. Where in the United States did they settle?
  4. What types of jobs/labor did they do?
  5. What additional reasons for leaving did people cite?
  6. What cultural impact did they have on the United States ?
  7. What language did they first speak when coming to the United States ? Did you find anything about the mixing of English into their homes?
  8. How were the immigrants treated when they first arrived? Were there any laws that may have been passed that encouraged or deterred them from becoming "active community members"?
  9. Has treatment of new groups of immigrants changed from years past?
  10. Pick one famous immigrant from Attachment A and use the Internet to find information about their country of origin and what they were/are famous for.  You may use an immigrant not listed if you wish to do so.

B. Essential Unit Questions for Teacher-Facilitated discussion (be prepared):

1.       How has immigration changed the face of America ?

2.       What are the social issues that made it difficult for immigrants to assimilate into American culture?

3.       How has your group of immigrants come together with other groups to create one nation?

4.       Has your group struggled more to be accepted by others and has your group learned the meaning of tolerance of diversity in America?

5.       Do you think this is currently happening with incoming immigrants today; that is, are they struggling to be accepted?


From this Web Quest you were given the opportunity to learn more about the difficulties an immigrant's family experiences in their journey to a new homeland. You also became aware of the cultures and political situations around the world.

Assessment of your work will be evaluated using a rubric that will be distributed.

Attachment A

Branching Out 

Search and Research

The United States is often called a melting pot of a mosaic.  This means that many people from different countries and cultures come together to create one nation.  Many immigrants have not only settled in the United States but have also been very important in America 's history. 

Use the library and Internet resources to find information about one of the following immigrants (you may do more if time permits):


 1. Kazimierz Pulaski                  _____________________         ______________________

 2. Mikhail Baryshnikov              _____________________         ____________________

 3. Albert Einstein                       _____________________         ______________________

 4. Madeleine Albright               _____________________         ______________________

 5. Sonja Henie                          _____________________         ______________________

 6. Hakeen Olajuwon                _____________________         ______________________

 7. Gloria Estefan                        _____________________         ______________________

 8. Enrico Fermi                            _____________________         ______________________

 9. An Wang                                   _____________________         ______________________

10.Felix Frankfurter                       _____________________         ______________________

11.Mario Andretti                           _____________________         ______________________

12. Michael J. Fox                         _____________________         ______________________

13. Andrew Carnegie                   _____________________         ______________________

14. Iman                                         _____________________         ______________________

15. Kahlil Gibran                           _____________________         ______________________

17. Itzhak Perlman                        _____________________         ______________________

18. Arnold Schwarzeneger          _____________________         ______________________

19. Sammy Sosa                           _____________________         ______________________

20.                                                     _____________________         ______________________