Multicultural America


Kalida Middle School



Kalida Local Schools Library

Ethnic Diversity in the United States

“Cultural Gifts”

A Webquest for 7th Grade Reading Students

Created by Mrs. Pam Schroeder

The New Colossus

By Emma Lazarus

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Engraved on a tablet inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty!

Introduction &



Learning about the history of the American culture is important and interesting.  Much of what we use on a daily basis such as our food, clothing, music, language, inventions, games, etc. came to the American culture through its immigrant groups.  I like to call these our “cultural gifts.” Students, you will work together to learn the contributions that your ancestors and other cultural groups have made to enhance your lifestyles.  Gaining an appreciation for your heritage is vital in becoming appreciative citizens in the “melting pot” of the United States of America.  Your task is going to be to build a town featuring your ethnic group and all of the “cultural gifts” your people have contributed to the United States.


Reading Standards:

o   S02 Acquisition of Vocabulary

o   Determine the meanings and pronunciations of unknown words by using dictionaries, thesauruses, glossaries, technology and textual features, such as definitional footnotes or sidebars. (S02 F08)

o   S03 Reading Process: Concepts of Print, Comprehension Strategies and Self-Monitoring Strategies

o   Summarize the information in texts, using key ideas, supporting details (S03 B04)

o   Monitor own comprehension by adjusting speed to fit the purpose, or by skimming, scanning, reading on, looking back, note taking or summarizing what has been read so far in text. (S03 D07)

o   Answer literal, inferential, evaluative and synthesizing questions to demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate print texts and electronic and visual media. (S03 C06)

o   S04

o   Use text features and graphics to organize, analyze and draw inferences from content and to gain additional information. (S04 A)

o   Use text features, such as chapter titles, headings and subheadings; parts of books, including index, appendix, table of contents and online tools (search engines) to locate information. (S04 A01)

English Standards:

o   S02 Writing Applications

o   Use persuasive strategies, including establishing a clear position in support of a proposition or a proposal with organized and relevant evidence. (S02 E05-07)

o   Write persuasive essays that establish a clear position and include relevant information to support ideas. (S02 E 05)

o   S04 Research

o   Locate and summarize important information from multiple sources. (S04 B)

o   Identify appropriate sources and gather relevant information from multiple sources (e.g., school library catalogs, online databases, electronic resources and Internet-based resources). (S04 B02)

o   S05 Communications: Oral and Visual

o   Present ideas in a logical sequence and use effective introductions and conclusions that guide and inform a listener's understanding of key ideas. (S05 E05-07)

o   Vary language choice and use effective presentation techniques, including voice modulation and enunciation. (S05 B05-07)


Task/Lesson Objectives

Students will:

    1. Learn that immigrants from foreign countries have been arriving from the 17th century to the present.
    2. Identify contributions made by ethnic groups to the American culture.
    3. Identify words that have foreign origins and have been introduced in the American culture. 
    4. Understand the concept of “cultural/ethnic group” Americans.
    5. Students will be expected to work in a collaborative effort: team work, problem solving, critical thinking, and formal presentation.











Students will browse and analyze the following sites that will help you with your chosen topics.


Cultural Diversity Bookmarks


  • American Cultural History – Decades


  • Multicultural America


  • Smithsonian: American Social and Cultural History


  • World Book Biography Center


  • World Book Online Student - Home


  • History of Ellis Island


  • Ellis Island


  • Profiles of Famous Immigrants in the U.S.


  • Famous American Immigrants


  • Famous Naturalized U.S. Citizens


  • History of Sports and Games


  • Food Timeline


  • The Costume Page


Students will locate and use various Kalida High School library resources:

Nonfiction shelves:

  • 031.02 Pan    Panati’s extraordinary origins of everyday things
  • 291 Wor (tall)    The world’s religions: understanding the living
  • 391 Har    Folk costumes of the world in colour
  • 609 Wil    The history of invention  
  • 641.3 Ven    Food…Its evolution through the ages
  • 780.973 How    Short history of music in America
  • 781.9 Sac    History of musical instruments
  • Ref 394.2 Fol    The folklore of American holidays
  • Ref 394.2 Fol    The folklore of world holidays
  • Ref 394.26 Hol    Holiday symbols
  • Ref 793.03 Enc    Encyclopedia of world sports: 3 volumes
  • 325 immigration
  • 391 ethnic dress
  • 394 Christmas, holidays, folklore
  • 641 cookbooks
  • 780 music
  • 790 games
  • 940 through 970 countries
  • 973 various immigrant groups

Students will use classroom resources located on book case titled “Cultural Gifts.”

The Process


Ethnic Groups


African Americans

Amish Americans

Chinese Americans


Danish Americans


Dutch Americans


English Americans

(England, Great Britain)

Filipino Americans


French Americans


German Americans


Greek Americans


Hungarian Americans


Irish Americans


Italian Americans


Japanese Americans


Jewish Americans

Korean Americans


Mexican Americans      (Mexico)

Native Americans

(American Indians)

Pacific Islanders (Hawaii)

Polish Americans


Spanish Americans


Swedish Americans




Please read through the directions before you begin the Webquest.

  1. Choose your group partners: Before you begin the task, you must break into groups of three students.
  2. Choose your immigrant group: Each group will select an immigrant group located in the list at the left to research. No two groups will research the same ethnic group.  Use the sign up sheet located on the bulletin board to claim your ethnic group.
  3. Choose your research topics: Each participant will choose and be responsible for three of the following topics.  I suggest you complete a bit of preliminary research to see what “cultural gifts” came from your group.  You will not be able to find an example for all of these from all ethnic groups. 

*    Clothing

*    Language – three words with etymologies and definitions

*    Food – three examples

*    Notable/famous person – athlete, actor, politician, author, etc.

*    Holiday/traditions/celebrations/symbol

*    Sport

*    Game - non sport

*    Invention

*    Music and/or dance

*    Religion/religious celebrations

*    Superstition and/or folklore

*    Arts & Crafts

*    Science and space technology

*    Health and medicine

  1. Internet, Library, Classroom Resources

*    Begin your research by using the resources available. 

*    Your task is to find an example of the “cultural gift” or topic that was introduced to Americans by your ethnic group. You will be looking for one example under each of your three topics. (Except three examples for language and food)

*     Once you find the example, write down the key points/background information about the example on the Cultural Gift Question Worksheet – teacher handout.

  1.    Build Your Town

*    Use the Design and Develop Checklist – teacher handout to organize your town.

*    Select and name the buildings that will feature your “cultural gifts.”

  1. Concept Map on Inspiration: Once you have collected your information, complete the concept map on Inspiration.  This will be completed in the school computer lab during class time or study hall.

*    Open Inspiration

*    Open “Built Your Town” template –  Locate on File Server: Applications - Student Documents -Reading 7 - Multicultural America Folder

*    Following the template directions, fill in the name of your building, “cultural gift,” and three key facts using the outline format.

*    Once the outline is complete, Save! Convert to “diagram” view.

*    Insert one picture for each of your buildings.

*    Insert one picture for your “cultural gift.”

*    Proofread and arrange so all information is organized and easy to see and read. SAVE!

*    Print a hard copy and give to teacher. 

  1. Student County Meeting

*    Putnam County is adding a new city featuring ONE ethnic group.  Your task is to take your new town and all of your research and persuade the selection committee that your new ethnic group has the most to offer Putnam County as a new city. 

*    Using your “cultural gifts,” each student in your group will write a persuasive argument featuring his/her three “cultural gifts.” 

*    As a group, prepare your presentation. Each member must present his/her own arguments to the class. 

*    Using your Inspiration concept map, you will present your arguments to the class.  We will vote to decide which town will be added to Putnam County, so make your arguments convincing.

  1. Power of Persuasion

*    To complete your argument: ReadWriteThink: Persuasion Map

*    To see the rubric by which  your persuasion will be scored: Persuasive Rubric

*    Write the persuasive argument: Persuasive Argument Checklist



Cast your vote!

*    Now that you have heard all the arguments, cast your vote for the ethnic group that has the most to offer Putnam County.  In a brief paragraph, explain to the selection committee why you feel this new town would be the best!


*    Visit the Ellis Island website and search for family genealogy:

*    Visit the Statue of Liberty website and read about history and culture:

Teacher Notes

*    Students should  be able to navigate through embedded links.

*    Students should have basic Internet skills.

*    Students should be able to modify and save Word files.

*    Students should have working knowledge of Inspiration software.

*    Students should have working knowledge of writing a persuasive argument.






“Cultural Gift” Project Rubric

Ethnic Group_______________________         Student:________________________________

                                                               Group Members:__________________________

Rank on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best.


Beginning Research

___Student used at least three websites and three print sources.                5    4    3    2    1

___Student created a bibliography of resources used: print and online. 5    4    3    2    1



___Student recorded accurate facts about research topic 1.                        5    4    3    2    1

___Student recorded accurate facts about research topic 2.                        5    4    3    2    1

___Student recorded accurate facts about research topic 3.                        5    4    3    2    1


Inspiration Design

___Inspiration contained organized/appropriate graphics.                   5    4    3    2    1

___Inspiration contained organized/appropriate text.                                 5    4    3    2    1

___Inspiration content supported “cultural gift” topics.                             5    4    3    2    1

___Design was creative, organized, and readable when projected.                  5    4    3    2    1


Persuasive and Oral Presentation

___Information was relevant and interesting.                                            5    4    3    2    1

___Students used knowledge/facts to make arguments persuasive.                5    4    3    2    1

___Presentation was organized and fluent.                                                 5    4    3    2    1

___Written arguments were organized and error free.                                5    4    3    2    1



___One display item was presented during presentation.                              5    4    3    2    1



70 Possible Points




+5 BONUS: International Food Day – Each participating student will bring in one prepared dish using a recipe that originated with his/her ethnic group. This recipe MUST be pre-approved by Mrs. Schroeder and a par



Multicultural JPG:

Salad Bowl:


Rainbow of Leaves: