AAPI Heritage Month activities for students of all ages

Since 1990, May has been designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This month was chosen to honor the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843. The intercontinental railway, originally built by Chinese immigrants, was also completed on May 10, 1869. The significance of this anniversary was given. May is a good time to highlight and celebrate the contributions and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific islanders in this country. Of course, it is also important that we extend this recognition year-round. To help you get started, here is a list of AAPI Heritage Month activities to share with students in your classroom.

1. Read books with Asian American characters

Covering a different pond

Quality children’s literature provides students with windows and mirrors: perspectives of others’ experiences and their own reflection. For your AAPI students, reading stories by Asian American writers and showing Asian American characters is a powerful presentation. Check out this list of books with letters from Asian, Asian American, Native, and Pacific Islands, and filter by age to find something for your grade level.

2. Take a virtual field trip to Asia

Home Adventures Through Asia: Japan

These resources play a role in different Asian cultures. They’re also great for working with students who like visual learners and hands-on activities, but be aware of reading “tourism methods” and avoid creating Asian culture as “exotic”:

  • At-Home Adventures Through Asia: Japan: Learn About language, origami, cherry blossoms, writing methods and school life in Japan. Ready for this adventure This note is being downloaded.
  • At-Home Adventures Through Asia: China: Explore Chinese food, festivals, costumes and games Also, get ready by downloading notes.
  • At-Home Adventures Through Asia: Korea: Spend a week celebrating Korea. First make a drum. Then make a lotus lantern. After that, play Korean games. And finally, explore the cultural roots of today’s Korea. Don’t forget to download ready note!
  • At-Home Adventures Through Asia: Vietnam: Zip through this picturesque country on a moped. Next, make a lotus lantern and play with the water buffalo. Announce your journey by downloading advance notes.
  • At-Home Adventures Through Asia: India: Learn A few words in Hindi, design colorful RangoliAnd sip on sweets Lassi When playing a traditional game. Take your time Download the note Ready for adventure!

3. Fold an origami paper crane

Want to make a wish? Japanese tradition Senbajuru Says anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be given them. Try it for yourself! To avoid cultural allocation, be sure to talk about the significance of the art you are appreciating. For example, cranes have long been a symbol of peace and longevity in Asian culture, as well as healing and well-being.

Learn more: Asia Society

4. Learn how ukulele came to Hawaii

From the Portuguese to the Pacific island tradition in the UK

As one of your AAPI Heritage Month activities, explore cultural stories. For example, discuss this picture of two young Polynesian women from Hawaii, one playing in the eukulele. Then ask your students to discuss the role of the Portuguese in the birth of this unique Hawaiian instrument. These resources tell stories.

Learn more: Library of Congress

5. Write haiku

The world of haiku

Suitable for high school students, this lesson gives students the opportunity to explore the haiku tradition and rules. Before composing their own haiku, they will compare this classic form of Japanese poetry to a related genre of Japanese visual art.

Learn more: Editment!

6. Discover inspiring Asian American women in music

The one-hour program features Asian American female musicians and performers. Prominent artists include Dohi Lee, Ruby Ibara, June Millington and Milk. These powerful women find inspiration in a variety of deep cultural traditions and contemporary genres. Also highlighted is a special message from activist Amanda Nguyen.

Learn more: Smithsonian APA

7. Listen to music that has shaped the experience of Asian immigration

Smithsonian Lab Asian Pacific American Heritage Month activities

How did music form the expression of the immigration experience? This collection explores the history of immigration of Japanese and Chinese Americans while reflecting the social power of music. After that, be sure to review Rediscovering Migration: A Learning Stress of Revealing QuestionsWhich can be applied to this song collection.

Learn more: Smithsonian Learning Lab

8. Design with the geometry of IM Pei’s polygon

If you’re looking for math-related AAPI Heritage Month activities, give it a try. First, students compare and contrast design elements of neoclassical and modern architecture using the National Gallery of Arts West and East Buildings. Students then design a geometric pattern using the polygon of IM Pei. Finally, they consider the role of geometry in designing and planning buildings and cities when using lines and polygons to create their own city plans.

Learn more: National Gallery of Art

9. Explore the golden age of Chinese archeology

Golden Age China activities for students

This educational packet explores new perspectives on the influence of early Chinese culture based on archaeological discoveries. For example, students will study the achievements of Chinese civilization from the Neolithic period to the period of the Five Dynasties (5000 BCE to 960 CE) through the exhibition “Golden Age of Chinese Archeology: The Cherished Discovery of the People’s Republic of China”.

Learn more: National Gallery of Art Chinese Archeology

10. Take an artistic journey through the Edo period

Edo Japan Asian Pacific American Heritage Month activities

This program includes a Great teaching packet And surveys two centuries of art and culture in a city now known as Tokyo. Teaching materials include painting, prints, textiles, curtains, ceramics and armor.

Learn more: National Gallery of Art Edo Japan

11. Review 150 years of Asian American history

Asian American PBS Special

This five-hour documentary series by PBS describes the ongoing role and influence of Asian Americans in shaping the history of our country. The 150-year-old series explores immigration, international relations, ethnic politics, cultural innovation and more, as told through personal life and family stories.

Learn more: PBS

12. Learn about 26 Asian American women who have changed America

Asian American tradition like women

This series of short films highlights the lives and contributions of 26 incredible women who have changed the face of America. Profile includes Margaret Chung, the first female Chinese doctor of American descent; Anna May Wong, a trendsetting movie star; Tye Leung Schulze, a lawyer for trafficked women and the first Sino-American woman to become a federal government employee; And Queen Liliookalani, the first sovereign queen and last emperor of Hawaii.

Learn more: Unladylike2020.com

13. Examine the Chinese boycott law

Chinese Exclusion Act Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Activities

Streaming to PBS American Experience, this 2018 documentary examines the Chinese exclusion act. Students will learn more about the origins and history of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to the United States, as well as its impact on Chinese citizens already here.

Learn more: PBS American Experience

14. Make a historical photograph relevant

The Chinese village showcases the activities of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

In this thought-provoking activity, students will be asked to make a photograph relevant when considering the experience of a young Chinese man exhibited as part of an ethnographic exhibition at the 1899 National Export Exhibition in Philadelphia.

Learn more: Teach Docs

15. Start a discussion about Japanese American imprisonment

Imprisonment of the Japanese during World War II

The activity will introduce students to a variety of documents and photographs to learn about the forcible transfer and capture of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Learn more: Docs taught Japanese American imprisonment

16. Discuss and challenge school separation

Students will use a search design model in this activity. For example, they will work through a series of helpful questions, including constructive performance work and featured primary and secondary sources. They will then complete a processing assignment where they will discuss the fight against the isolation of Chinese Americans.

Learn more: National History Day

17. Listen to the stories of Asian Americans during the civil rights movement

The African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s exposed institutional racism in the United States. Asian Americans have also been discriminated against in their quest for equality. Indeed, some Asian American activists joined the African American civil rights movement. The 1982 assassination of Vincent Chin led to a federal civil rights lawsuit and marked a turning point for Asian American civil rights.

Learn more: Editment! Civil rights movement

18. Discuss Asian racism with students

One of Liz Kleinrock’s fourth-grade students stunned the class by saying unimaginable things during an important race lesson. Afterwards, Kleinrock found a way to turn it into an instructive moment. In this TED talk, she shares how she can lead children through the discussion of taboos without fear. Before you get started, check it out for free Asian American Ethnic Justice Toolkit.

Learn more: TED

To get involved with this AAPI Heritage Month activities, see Classroom Resources and Tips for Tackling Anti-Asian Discrimination.

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