Theme: Industrialization and Labor | Grades 9 – 12

Industrialization and Labor    Students learn how the development of industry creates jobs and how the people who do those jobs, often immigrants and migrants, fight to make those jobs fair. Students learn about changing technologies and their impact on the work lives of real people. 

1910’s Rogarshevsky Family

The Rogarshevsky Family story features a Jewish American family and their 1911 tenement home. Students will learn about the economic and political conditions that prompted the Rogarshevsky’s to move from the Russian Empire and the immigration policies that impacted immigration at this time. Through an interactive exploration of the family’s recreated apartment, historical photographs, and the 1900 census, students will investigate how the family balanced work and tradition. Students will analyze the efforts to improve working conditions through labor unions with the actual experiences of Bessie Rogarshevksy, a teenage daughter in the family. Students will debate her involvement in the Shirtwaist Strike of 1909 and understand how the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire affected the family, neighborhood, and country at large. Students will debate how the movements of the turn of the last century connect to movements today.

Themes: Culture and Identity, Industrialization and Labor, Movements for Change

Topics: European Immigration

Duration: 60 minutes

Connections to our Curriculum:


1960s Saez Velez

The Saez Velez Family story features Puerto Rican family and their 1968 Tenement home. With the help of Puerto Rican migration scholars, students learn about the history of Puerto Rico, its relationship to the United States, and how it affected the Saez Velez’ journey to New York City as American citizens. Through exploration of the recreated apartment, video interviews, family and neighborhood photos, and other primary source documents, students will examine the ways the Saez Velez family established themselves in the culturally and racially diverse Lower East Side of the 1960s. Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam war, students will examine how different generations of the family exercised citizenship at home, school, work, and beyond. Students will discuss how the family’s efforts made a difference on a larger scale and reflect on their understandings of citizenship.

Themes: Culture and Identity, Immigration Policy, Movements for Change, Industrialization and Labor

Topics: Puerto Rican Migration

Duration: 60 minutes

Connections to our Curriculum:


1970’s Wong Family   

The Wong family story features a Chinese American family and their 1970’s tenement home. With the help of immigration scholars, students learn about the push and pull factors of Chinese immigration and its relation to the Chinese Exclusion Act and subsequent immigration laws. Through exploration of a recreated apartment and garment shop, students will examine how the Wongs made a home in the neighborhood and how their experiences reflect the growth of Chinese communities and the garment industry in New York. Video interviews and family and neighborhood photographs will allow students to consider how different generations of the family navigate language, schooling, media, and work. Students will discuss how they themselves form their own senses of identity and belonging and evaluate roles of government, schools, and other institutions to ensure openness and acceptance of many.

 Themes: Complicating Stereotypes, Immigration Policy, Culture and Identity, Industrialization and Labor

Topics: Asian Immigration    

Duration: 60 minutes 

Connections to our Curriculum: 


Teaching Resources

We offer teacher-designed, teacher-tested lesson plans where students learn to interpret objects, oral histories, and primary sources while making modern connections. Find unit plans, lesson plans, primary sources, and non-fiction family stories, made for flexible use in your classroom.

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