Immigrant to Citizen


Grades 5-8


swearing n


The process of becoming an American citizen is not an easy one, but it is one many immigrants pursue.  In this unit, students learn about the process and the challenges to becoming American citizens in order to gain an understanding of what citizenship offers and what naturalized citizens can offer to the United States in return.

The four lessons in this unit take students through a journey of becoming citizens.  By learning the steps of the naturalization process for historical and current citizens, by understanding the motivations for becoming citizens, and by comparing the challenges experienced by non-citizens past and present, students become aware of how the naturalization process works.   The stories told will be of Ancient Greeks, mid-nineteenth century Chinese Americans and Irish American, a twentieth century Armenian family, contemporary Latin Americans, and themselves.  Students’ understanding will be guided by a variety of sources, past and present: naturalization papers, contemporary and recent photographs, Civil War letters, historical and modern newspaper articles, ancient and modern artifacts, podcast and personal interviews, and objects of their own lives.   Through these explorations of the process, meaning, and impact of citizenship, students will come to understand the meaning of “becoming American.”



So, You Want To Become An American Citizen?

Created by: Lisa DiSalvatore, Lafayette School, Everett

Considering Citizenship: The Story of the Keverians

Created by:  Linda Maltais, Parlin School, Everett

Fighting to Fit In: The Irish Struggle to Be One with the Union

Created by: Patrick Condon, East Middle School, Braintree

Immigrants and Citizenship: Looking at early Chinese Americans, present day Latin Americans and the ancient Athenians

Created by: Kathryn Gamache, East Middle School, Braintree


Image credit: Judge in chambers swearing in a new citizen, New York, from the Bain Coll.

    * Digital ID: (digital file from original neg.) ggbain 04470
    * Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ggbain-04470 (digital file from original neg.)
    * Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.
20540 USA