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Immigration - Student Activities

Activity 1 - Immigration Timeline Cause and Effect

Immigrants at Ellis Island From: Selected Images of Ellis Island and Immigration, ca. 1880-1920, from the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress

These immigrants, pictured at Ellis Island, faced an uncertain future. They may have come to America to find new opportunities or to avoid problems in their homeland.

What Will They Do?

Some of these new Americans came to Iowa. They built farms or worked in one of the many Iowa industries that processed farm products or manufactured farming equipment.

Picture of farm house

Cream Separator Factory

There were many reasons that caused immigrants to come to America. Some came to find work. Others came to buy land. Still others wanted to avoid religious persecution.

Arriving at Ellis Island Library of Congress, Arriving at Ellis Island LC-B2-5202-12 c 1907.

This picture raises many questions about immigration to America:

  • What factors CAUSED immigrants to leave their homelands?
  • As immigrants came to America, what EFFECT did they have on the country?
  • What EFFECT did immigrants have on the communities in which they lived?


  1. The following table identifies eight events in immigration history between 1815 and 1954.
    Each of these events had an effect on individuals, communities or the country. Historians call this cause and effect.
  2. Read each event in the cause column.
  3. Then match an effect to each of the events listed in the cause column.
  4. Then type a possible secondary effect in the third column.


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