Objective 1: Describe the responsibilities and rights of individuals in a representative government as well as in the school and community.
Indicator C: Determine how and why the rights and responsibilities of various groups have varied over time (e.g. Chinese railroad workers, Greek miners, women, children, Mormons, Japanese-Americans at Topaz, American Indians, African-Americans).
Materials for the Lesson:1 tape recorder, paper, drawing utensils, Computer, Google Earth program, multiple choice work sheet.
Lesson Objective: Students will understand how the responsibilities and rights of the Chinese railroad workers changed after traveling to North America. They will demonstrate their understanding by participating in 6 different activities.
Background Knowledge: Thousands of Chinese fled to America in the mid-1800's because of famine and the Taiping Rebellion. Laborers were needed in America in order to extend the railroad west to California. The Chinese laborers were called "Coolies" and were hated and mistreated by the early settlers.
Anticipatory Set/Invitation to Learn:I will hold up the book and ask the children to guess what the book is about by the cover. I will also ask them what they think Coolies means. Once they have predicted what the book is about, I will ask them if they know how people traveled long distances in the 1800's. I will continue asking questions in order to activate their background knowledge such as:
How are railroads built?
How many people do you think it would take to build a railroad?
How long do you think it would take to build a railroad from California to Utah?
Listening Focus:Students will focus on what rights and responsibilities the Chinese laborers had as they worked on the railroad.
Method for sharing the book: Before I give the students the background knowledge as stated above, I will ask them to imagine that they are farmers and that there is a big famine in the land. I will then ask them what they would do in order to live and support their families. (Potential student answers: Move with family to another place, find another job, beg)
I will then tell them what the Chinese people did when there was a famine in their land and proceed to give them background information as stated above.
Before beginning the story, I will pose the listening focus question for students to think about during the story. During the story I will pause at times in order to direct student thinking and ask questions such as:
Why do you think the North American bosses made fun of the Chinese workers appearance?
(Potential student answers: because they were different, because they didn't understand, because they were mean)
How do you think the Chinese workers felt coming to a different country and being treated so poorly?
(They felt sad and homesick, they felt angry and discouraged)
How would you feel if you had to work as hard as the Chinese laborers?
These questions will help students consider what kind of rights the Chinese laborers had and what responsibilities they were given and why. Students should reflect upon the importance of treating others with respect and kindness. They should try to imagine how they would feel if they were put in the same situation and how they would react.
After reading the story, the teacher will use the book to show and describe in greater detail what clothing the Chinese laborers wore, the food they ate, the dangerous jobs they were given while working on the railroad, the rights and responsibilities they were given, and what happened to them after the railroad was completed. This will reinforce the lesson objective so that they will be prepared to do the activity.
Activity Orientation: Before beginning the six activities I will explain what will be required of them at each of the six stations. I will model at times in order to clarify procedures. Students will be divided into six groups and will be assigned to a specific activity station. Students will be given 8 minutes at each station. At the end of each 8 minute segment of time a buzzer will go off indicating to the students that it is time to rotate to the next activity station. Students will continue to rotate until they have been to all six activity stations. After they have participated in each station, students will hand in all of the worksheets, papers, stories, and artwork made while at the stations.
To close the lesson, the teacher will ask the students three questions and have the students respond by writing their answers on a piece of paper. The questions are:
What rights did the Chinese laborers have?
What rights were taken away from them?
What responsibilities did the Chinese laborers have while building the railroad?
Evidence of Student Learning:
Students will be assessed by the quiz they complete during the closure of the lesson. If students have a difficult time answering the quiz questions, the teacher will look at the activity assignments to see if student understanding was demonstrated in a different way. If some students do not demonstrate sufficient understanding through the quiz and activity assignments, the teacher can take those students and do a reinforcement activity another day.
Literacy integration: Students will look through the book and choose one of the characters. They will then write a journal entry for that character. In the journal entry they will describe what happened that day and the feeling they had as if they were that person.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Synthesis: Students are imagining what it would be like for a specific character in the story and creating and describing a typical day in the life of a Chinese laborer.
Math integration and technology: Students will use Google Earth and measure the distance from Sacramento, California to Promontory Summit, Utah. They will then calculate about how far the workers had to build each day in order to complete the railroad in four years.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Application: Students have to examine and solve a problem.
Listening Station/ technology: Students will listen to the story read aloud again from a recording and write down at least one new thing they learned after listening to it a second time.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Knowledge: Students have to list at least one new thing learned.
Art integration: Students will draw what they think would be the most difficult thing for them to handle if they were a Coolie.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Synthesis: Students have to personally apply the situation.
Drama integration: Students will choose a picture from the book and monologue a story from the viewpoint of that character in the scene.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Comprehension: Students have to interpret what the character must be feeling and thinking.
Short answer: Students will answer 5 short answer questions and discuss their answers with their group when they finish.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Comprehension: Students have to explain and discuss the questions.
Activity 1: Look through the book and choose one character. Then write a journal entry for that character. In the journal entry describe what happened that day and the feelings that character had as if you are that person.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Synthesis
Use Google Earth and measure the distance from Sacramento, California to Promontory Summit, Utah. Then calculate about how far the workers had to build each day in order to complete the railroad in four years.
Hint: There are 365 days in a year
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Application
Listen to the story read aloud again from the recording and write down at least one new thing you learned after listening to it a second time.
Level of Bloom's Comprehension: Knowledge
Draw what you think would be the most difficult thing for you to handle if you were a Coolie. You may use the book to help you remember the different struggles the Chinese laborers experienced.