Irish Potato Famine Lesson Plan Materials

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Irish Potato Famine Lesson Plan


  • Saratoga Chips skit

  • Cork Examiner Newspaper (3 pages)

  • Newspaper Guidelines (half sheet)

  • Notes sheet (immigration and IPF)

  • Fill-In Notes (Immigration and IPF)

You can play around with this however you want to. Here is my plan…

  1. HOOK- Saratoga Chips Skit (5 minutes)- choose a few outgoing kids to do the skit. It basically just introduces how potato chips came into being. The skit is factual and should be on their level.

  2. Cork Examiner Newspaper (25 minutes)- I created this newspaper and there are three different pages. When you print it out, you will have to reorganize it to get the pages right. You will only need pages 1-3, not four and five. Can’t figure out how to get them to go away.

    1. I was going to have the kids break up into groups of three so they could read the newspaper together.

    2. Pass out the Newspaper Guidelines sheet. In their groups of three, they will need to create an American newspaper, following along the guidelines on the half-sheet. This will be homework and not something they will complete in class. Ideally, I would like to make class sets of the newspaper so that students can have it for their notes.

      1. If they choose to work alone, they will be responsible for the whole newspaper (3 articles)

      2. To modify this, I was just thinking that we would have the students go through and highlight what they think was the main idea of each article. See if they can make any connections. If possible, some can write a diary entry…?

    3. I’m just giving them about 25 minutes to get in their groups, divvy up the assignment, and begin reading. If there is time left at the end of class, they can work on this.

  3. United Streaming Video- “Irish in America”- 5:05

  4. Notes Sheet/Fill-in Notes- (20 minutes) – This sheet talks about immigration in America, what the Irish brought to America, and stereotypes. Feel free to spend more time on this.

    1. I think you should be sure to mention how the Irish came to America with very little. Few had any skills, education, or belongings. Thus, they lived in slums where they died from disease and starvation. Life in America was not necessarily perfect for them. And to top it off, many were treated harshly and were unable to find jobs (based off of their heritage). They came from nothing, escaped from nothing, and arrived with nothing. Many dreamed of becoming a lot more than nothing.

    2. You can give the students the Fill-in Notes and you can use the filled notes to give them the blanks and for those who are absent.

  5. Extra Time- have students work on their American newspaper articles

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