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


Possible Activities


  • Mentor/tutor elementary through high school students
  • Advocate for change and social justice
  • Restore natural areas, parks, rivers, and beaches
  • Teach literacy or English as a second language
  • Provide shelter for those in need
  • Enhance health and well-being 
  • Help the visually impaired complete everyday tasks with Be My Eyes
  • Assist public health efforts and the elderly
  • Volunteer with the National Park Service 
  • Volunteer to register voters or at an election poll
  • Volunteer for translation services
  • Volunteer at a museum or public library
  • Volunteer at a pantry, soup kitchen, or food bank
  • Volunteer at a community garden
  • Volunteer to coach a youth sports team or lead a youth group
  • Volunteer at a community center or to help seniors, immigrants, or those with special needs
  • Volunteer to help teachers
  • Help researchers advance science on or
  • Volunteer for a political party or candidate
  • Identify a problem in your community and work with neighbors to fix it





  • Council of Korean American, Washington, DC – The Council of Korean Americans (CKA) is a national nonprofit organization. Our mission is to advance the national voice and influence of the Korean American community. Our vision is to serve as the celebrated national leadership organization representing the voice, interest, and future of the Korean American community.


  • Korean American Coalition, Los Angeles – The Korean American Coalition (KAC) – Los Angeles (KAC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1983 to promote the civic and civil rights interests of the Korean American community. KAC endeavors to achieve these goals through education, community organizing, leadership development, and coalition-building with diverse communities.


  • Korean Community Center of the East Bay, Oakland, CA – Our mission is to empower immigrants in the Bay Area through access to education, services, resources , and advocacy. We are a bridge helping individuals get needed resources at critical moments in their lives. Our vision is a world where immigrants and refugees thrive in an inclusive and equitable society and everyone has access to basic health care, housing, work and can be part of a safe, healthy and thriving community.


  • Korean Community Services, Los Angeles – Korean Community Services began in 1975 in order to provide social services and community outreach to the influx of Korean immigrants coming to Southern California. The organization was birthed under the vision of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Los Angeles and its pastor, Father Matthew Y. Ahn, and for over four decades Korean Community Services has experienced exponential growth and has broadened its scope to serve the general population with behavioral health services and into seven other sites in Orange County. At present, Korean Community Services is a multi-service agency providing an array of social services to Korean Americans as well as the community at large.


  • Korean Resource Center, Los Angeles – The Korean Resource Center (KRC) was founded in 1983 to empower low-income, immigrants, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and communities of color in Southern California. Using a holistic approach, KRC strives to empower our community by integrating services, education, culture, organizing, and coalition building, to improve the life of the individual and the community.​


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