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Lesson Plan
Asian Americans: Where Do They Come From?



  • Social Studies


  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Learn about some of the places from which Asian Americans come.


Students will

  • identify 15 places (14 countries plus Hawaii) from which large populations of Asian Americans originate.
  • create a graph to help themselves visualize the places from which large populations of Asian Americans originate.
  • identify the locations on a world map of 15 Asian and Pacific Island locations.
  • create a chart to compare places from which large populations of Asian American originate.


Asian American, Asia, Pacific Island, population, census, world map, graphic organizer, chart, graph

Materials Needed

  • Internet access (optional)
  • library resources

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students become familiar with the countries that comprise the continent of Asia and the area of the Pacific Islands. They use library, Internet, or map resources to fill in the missing letters on the Asian Americans: Where Do They Come From? puzzle. The missing letters complete the spelling of the names of Asian or Pacific Island countries from which Asian Americans originate. (The puzzle includes 14 country names and the state of Hawaii.)

Puzzle answers are in the Assessment section below.

Extension Activities

  • Provide an outline map of the world or one of Asia and the Pacific Islands. Have students label on the map the 15 places (14 countries and Hawaii) included in this activity. They might label the locations by name, or by placing on the map the corresponding number from the crossword puzzle. (There will be two 4's -- China and Cambodia. Students might label those 4A, for 4 Across, which is China, and 4D, for 4 Down, which is Cambodia.)

    World Outline Map Sources
    World Outline Map #1
    World Map #2
    World Map #3
  • Students might use information in the National Geographic Map Machine. (Type a country name into the Find a Place window.) Create a chart/graphic organizer that identifies each of the 15 places in the puzzle by

    Country Name
    Languages Spoken
  • Challenge students to list in order of population size the top ten original nationalities of America's Asian and Pacific-Island population. Provide the following two resources: U.S. Asian Population 2000 and U.S. Pacific Islander Population 2000.
    Answers: Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Cambodian, Pakistani, Laotian.
  • Have students Create a Graph illustrating the number of U.S. residents (according to the 2000 U.S. census) who identify themselves as being part of one of the Asian or Pacific-Island populations listed below. (Only groups that account for 100,000 or more U.S. residents are listed.) All numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10,000. Younger students might graph only the top five groups of origin (Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese).

    Cambodian 210,000
    Chinese 2,730,000
    Filipino 2,360,000
    Hawaiian 400,000
    Asian Indian 1,900,000
    Japanese 1,150,000
    Korean 1,230,000
    Laotian 200,000
    Pakistani 200,000
    Samoan 130,000
    Taiwan ese 140,000
    Thai 150,000
    Vietnamese 1,220,000


Following are the answers to the Asian Americans: Where Do They Come From? puzzle.

Across: 4. China; 5. Vietnam; 9. Indonesia; 10. Hawaii; 11. Pakistan; 12. South Korea; 13. Malaysia; 14. India.

Down: 1. North Korea; 2. Philippines; 3. Laos; 4. Cambodia; 6. Guam; 7. Thailand; 8. Japan.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding

NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and Regions

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