Course Content
Lesson 1: The Korean Diaspora and Korean Americans
Students are introduced to Korean Diaspora and Korean American immigration patterns and experiences. They compare experiences of Korean Americans in the first and second waves of immigrants and consider how these experiences have evolved over the the 20th century. They analyze oral histories and complete a web-based short research project on locations of Koreans and Korean Americans.
Lesson 2: The First Koreatown and the Legacy of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho
Students explore the life of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho, his immigration to the United States, and his life as an activist and community builder. They examine how the first Koreatown was established in Riverside, California, and compare the experiences of Korean, Mexican, and women citrus pickers and packers. Finally, they identify Dosan's contributions to the United States and Korea.
Lesson 3: ​Immigrant Experiences ​of Korean Americans: The Sammy Lee Story
Students are introduced to the experiences of Korean American immigrants through Sammy Lee’s life story. They reflect upon and critically analyze the responses of Sammy Lee and his family to the racism and discrimination they faced as immigrants, consider ways the immigration laws have changed over the 20th century, and identify ways to advocate for Korean American immigrants.
Lesson 4: The Korean Independence Movement and Korean American Identity in the U.S.
Students situate President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points Peace Program and 1919 speech to congress in the development of the Korean Independence Movement. They engage in a jigsaw activity and examine original documents and news reports from the time period to identify how the Korean Independence Movement shaped and was shaped by the formation of the Korean American identify in the United States. Students compose a letter to President Wilson to encourage the United States to support the Korean Independence Movement.
Lesson 5: Colonel Young Oak Kim: Hero and Humanitarian
Students explore the life of Young Oak Kim, and identify contributions he has made to the United States. They complete a Think/Write/Pair Share/Group Share as they reflect on what it is like to be a Korean American/minority struggling through racial barriers like Young Oak Kim. They explore what kinds of microaggressions Kim encountered and consider how he responded to those actions. Students deepen their understanding of the life of Young Oak Kim as a U.S. citizen, war hero and community activist, and they annotate and discuss an excerpt from the biography, Unsung Hero: The Colonel Young O. Kim Story, by Woo Sung Han. They construct a biopoem and/or an argument essay on his life and contributions to American society.
Lesson 6: Aftermath of the Korean War and Korean Transnational Adoptions
Students explore the ending and aftermath of the Korean War. They learn about the history of the Korean War and what war was like from the perspective of Koreans. Students learn about one of the many groups of displaced civilians whose lives were forever changed by the war, Korean children. They learn how Korean children became central to international aid efforts that led to the advent of transnational adoptions. ​ They analyze an article from 1953 about a Korean transnational adoptee and consider the broader impacts of Korean transnational adoptions on Koreans and Korean-Americans. Finally, students learn about transnational adoptions from the perspective of Deann Borshay Liem, a Korean adoptee.
Lesson 7: Saigu and Social Justice
Students are introduced to 1992 LA Civil Unrest and how it impacted Korean Americans. They reflect upon and critically analyze the responses of various individuals and groups to the unrest, examine issues of justice, and consider the legacy of Saigu for Korean Americans today.
Lesson 8: Korean Americans in the 21st Century
Students explore Korean popular culture in the United States, including K-Pop, Korean and Korean American films, food, and more. They compare and contrast K-POP and American Popular music, conduct short research on an example of Hallyu, analyze films, conduct research for a biographical presentation of a notable Korean American, and compose a memoir essay of their own experiences
Korean American Ethnic Studies
About Lesson



Formative Assessments

  • Activity 2

    • Article Analysis Worksheet

    • Similarities and Differences Venn Diagram

    • Quick Writes

Summative Assessment: Civic Engagement Activity and Report To support this activity, use the Lesson 2 Presentation.

Introducing idea of Community Needs

  • Remind students of the many ways that Dosan helped his community – including the formation of Friendship Society (Chinmoke Hoe), the Korean Labor Bureau, and the Korean National Association.  These organizations helped early Korean immigrants. Dosan spent time determining the needs of his community and acted to help individuals improve their lives.
  • Ask students to identify needs of their community and how they might help individuals improve their lives.  As needed, encourage them to consider a wide variety of needs by mentioning ideas from Civic Engagement Resources.

  Introducing idea of Civic Engagement

  • ​Review the two slides on Civic Engagement – making sure to discuss the four constructs and seven categories.  Show the short video, What is Civic Engagement? (1.52 minutes).​

  Completing the Civic Engagement Project

  • Review the slides on the Civic Engagement Project.  Have students complete and share their top five Civic Engagement Choices Worksheet.
  • Have students choose groups (or work individually) to complete the Civic Engagement Options Worksheet. Some of this can be completed during class, but contact must be made by phone or email to confirm the possibilities. 
  • Approve their final choices and give them time to complete the activities. Remind them to track their hours on the Civic Engagement Time Log Sheet.
  • Finally, have students prepare their report.  Review the Civic Engagement Report Presentation Scoring Guide and have them deliver presentations during class. 


  • See also Lesson 2 Teacher’s Guide and Presentation found under Activity 2.
  • Video: What is Civic Engagement?
  • Civic Engagement Choices
  • Civic Engagement Options
  • Civic Engagement Time Log Sheet
  • Civic Engagement Report Presentation Scoring Guide

Civic Engagement Choices (PDF)

Civic Engagement Options (PDF)


Civic Engagement Time Log Sheet (PDF)

Civic Engagement Report Scoring Guide (PDF)


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