Lesson Plan

Think Deeply About Family Interviews

Teach students about how a Puerto Rican family made a difference with their oral histories.

Students closely listen to interviews with José Velez who remembers growing up in the Lower East Side in the 1960’s after his family migrated from Puerto Rico.  They are prompted to think deeply about why José remembers and shares these stories.  To deepen their knowledge about the Saez Velez family, they read the family article, “The Saez Velez Family Story,” and discover how they made a difference in American society through education, community involvement, and military service.


Making a Difference


1-3 Class Periods


How do we do history detective work with a video to learn about a family?

Related Program

Finding Home

Important Information

What will students understand through this lesson?

  • Migration happens in many different ways (immigration, forced migration, voluntary migration, arrival as a refugee) and is core to the shared human experience. Immigration is one type of migration. Immigration is usually done by choice and is always a move from one country to another.
  • There are many common myths about immigrants and immigration. Among them are: that immigrants are taking jobs from American citizens, that certain immigrant groups have negative characteristics based on their cultural or religious identity.
  • Neighborhoods with many immigrants and their children develop because they provide work, support, access to culture, less racism and discrimination, and friendship. While adult immigrants often spend time with people who speak their home language, children often make friends across difference.
  • Cities like New York, and neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, have many jobs for newcomers and immigrants. Many of these jobs are difficult, but work can be a place where people find community to continue their cultural or religious practices, and also where they influence and impact American society, culture(s), and economy.
  • It takes many different people, sometimes with different interests, to create change. Immigrants work to make individual and community changes that benefit their lives but also others’ lives.

Primary Sources

Related Family Story

Questions on lessons and activities?

The materials on this page can enrich a visit to the Museum or help you teach about immigration. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us.

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