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Activity

Teaching Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage

May Is Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Published: 04/20/2021

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed to politics, military, medicine, aviation, entertainment, and sports in the United States. Celebrate their heritage and contributions with these lessons and activities.

Resources for K-5

Lesson Plans

The Japanese American Internment
How Young People Saw It
Students in grades K-12 use primary and secondary sources to learn of the experiences of children and teens in World War II internment camps.

Creating Hawaii
Students in grades K-12 learn about Hawaii’s history and culture by exploring the Smithsonian exhibition, Creating Hawai’i.

Hawaiian Archipelago and Star Compass
Students use the online exhibition A Voyage to Health and other online materials in learning about the Hawaiian Islands’ geography, geology, and traditional navigation, including the “Hawaiian Star Compass,”developed by C. Nainoa Thompson, the master navigator who is a part of reviving the traditional Polynesian long-distance voyaging.

Activities

Asian Art Museum: Education
Search regions for K-12 lessons & activities, artwork, video or background information.

Bullroarer
In this short video, students in grades 3-5 learn how to make a simple bullroarer with a tongue depressor, marker, and string.

Koinobori: Japanese Carp Windsocks or Kites
Use this lesson plan to help students create their own Japanese kites and discuss the cultural importance of Children's Day in Japan.

Teaching Guides

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: For Teachers
Primary sources, lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids for grades K-12 – culled from materials at The Library of Congress, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, and other institutions.

Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread
This teachers guide provides background on Maori weaving, traditions, materials and techniques.

Five Sites for Lesson Plans and Teaching Materials on China

Reading and Exploration

NEA's Read Across America Recommended Book List of Asian American and Pacific Islander Titles
Share these stories that celebrate major figures and read telling titles about the lives of everyday men, women, and children.

Secrets of Easter Island
This companion site to the PBS television series NOVA tells the story of how hundreds of giant stone statues that dominate the island's coast were moved and erected.

The Fate of Easter Island
Examines the impact a growing human population had the environment of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey
Learn about Wayfinding – navigating on the open ocean without sextant, compass, clock, radio reports, or satellites reports – and Pacific Island geography, culture, history, archaeology, linguistics and celestial navigation.

The Secrets of the Wave Pilots
Examines how the Marshall Islanders were able to navigate great distances over open water without instruments.

Data and Statistics

The Asian Population: 2010

Asian Pacific Americans by the Numbers (Infoplease)

Art

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Provides separate timelines for Oceania, regions of Asia.

The Art of South and Southeast Asia
This book, available in PDF format, introduces works of art from South and Southeast Asian collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Arts of Korea: A Resource for Educators
This book, available in PDF format, introduces Korea's artistic achievement and places it in the context of its history and religions.

EXHIBITS & COLLECTIONS

Quizzes

GEOGRAPHY

HISTORY, POLITICS & CULTURE

Printables

Pacific Coral Reef Coloring Book K-3

Resources for Grades 6-8

Lesson Plans

The Japanese American Internment
Students in grades K-12 use primary and secondary sources to learn of the experiences of children and teens in World War II internment camps.

Creating Hawaii
Students in grades K-12 learn about Hawaii’s history and culture by exploring the Smithsonian exhibition, Creating Hawai’i.

Teaching Pacific Islands From Indigenous Perspectives
A Teacher's Resource Guide with 8 lessons. 

Cultural Comparison: a look at Vietnam and USA Studies in Cultural Prejudice and Differences 
Students in grades 7-10 compare the culture of Vietnam and the United States.

What Are We Supposed to Learn from a Korean Folktale?
This lesson from the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia–Ohio will help students develop an understanding for traditional Korean values through their folktales and appreciate the diverse culture and traditions through Korean folktales.

Koinobori: Japanese Carp Windsocks or Kites
Use this lesson plan to help students create their own Japanese kites and discuss the cultural importance of Children's Day in Japan.

Activities

Asian Art Museum: Education
Search region for K-12 lessons & activities, artwork, video or background information.

Wayfinders: The Game
Learn the skills of wayfinding and see if you can sail “ke,” an ancient Polynesian vessel across the sea.

Teaching Guides

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: For Teachers
Primary sources, lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids for grades K-12 – culled from materials at The Library of Congress, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, and other institutions.

Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread
This teachers guide provides background on Maori weaving, traditions, materials and techniques.

Lesson Plan Units

Five Sites for Lesson Plans and Teaching Materials on China

Reading and Exploration

NEA's Read Across America Recommended Book List of Asian American and Pacific Islander Titles
Share these stories that celebrate major figures and read telling titles about the lives of everyday men, women, and children.

Secrets of Easter Island
This companion site to the PBS television series NOVA tells the story of how hundreds of giant stone statues that dominate the island's coast were moved and erected.

The Fate of Easter Island
Examines the impact a growing human population had the environment of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey
Learn about Wayfinding – navigating on the open ocean without sextant, compass, clock, radio reports, or satellites reports – and Pacific Island geography, culture, history, archaeology, linguistics and celestial navigation.

Data and Statistics

The Asian Population: 2010

Asian Pacific Americans by the Numbers (Infoplease)

Art

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Provides separate timelines for Oceania, regions of Asia.

The Art of South and Southeast Asia
This book, available in PDF format, introduces works of art from South and Southeast Asian collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Arts of Korea: A Resource for Educators
This book, available in PDF format, introduces Korea's artistic achievement and places it in the context of its history and religions.

EXHIBITS & COLLECTIONS

Quizzes

GEOGRAPHY

HISTORY, POLITICS & CULTURE

Resources for Grades 9-12

Lesson Plans

The Japanese American Internment
How Young People Saw It
Students in grades K-12 use primary and secondary sources to learn of the experiences of children and teens in World War II internment camps.

Creating Hawaii
Students in grades K-12 learn about Hawaii’s history and culture by exploring the Smithsonian exhibition, Creating Hawai’i.

Lessons of the Indian Epics: Following the Dharma
Students in grades 9-12 explore Hindu culture by examining the characters of the Ramayana, and the choices they make.

Haven't I Seen You Somewhere Before? Samsara and karma in the Jataka Tales
Students in grades 9-12 examine the meaning of karma and the related concept of samsara through a reading of the Jataka Tales.

Activities

Asian Art Museum: Education
Search region for K-12 lessons & activities, artwork, video or background information.

Wayfinders: The Game
Learn the skills of wayfinding and see if you can sail “ke,” an ancient Polynesian vessel across the sea.

How to Make a Simple Didgeridoo from PVC
Step by step instructions and related videos. Grades 9-12.

Carving a Bullroarer
Illustrated steps for carving a bullroarer. Grades 9-12.

Teaching Guides

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: For Teachers
Primary sources, lesson plans, student activities, collection guides and research aids for grades K-12 – culled from materials at The Library of Congress, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, and other institutions.

Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread
This teachers guide provides background on Maori weaving, traditions, materials and techniques.

Lesson Plan Units

Five Sites for Lesson Plans and Teaching Materials on China

Reading and Exploration

NEA's Read Across America Recommended Book List of Asian American and Pacific Islander Titles
Share these stories that celebrate major figures and read telling titles about the lives of everyday men, women, and children.

Secrets of Easter Island
This companion site to the PBS television series NOVA tells the story of how hundreds of giant stone statues that dominate the island's coast were moved and erected.

The Fate of Easter Island
Examines the impact a growing human population had the environment of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey
Learn about Wayfinding – navigating on the open ocean without sextant, compass, clock, radio reports, or satellites reports – and Pacific Island geography, culture, history, archaeology, linguistics and celestial navigation.

The Secrets of the Wave Pilots
Examines how the Marshall Islanders were able to navigate great distances over open water without instruments.

Data and Statistics

The Asian Population: 2010

Asian Pacific Americans by the Numbers (Infoplease)

Art

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Provides separate timelines for Oceania, regions of Asia.

The Art of South and Southeast Asia
This book, available in PDF format, introduces works of art from South and Southeast Asian collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Arts of Korea: A Resource for Educators
This book, available in PDF format, introduces Korea's artistic achievement and places it in the context of its history and religions.

EXHIBITS & COLLECTIONS

Quizzes

GEOGRAPHY

HISTORY, POLITICS & CULTURE

History of AAPI Heritage Month

AAPI Heritage Month originated in June 1977 when Representatives Frank Horton (New York) and Norman Y. Mineta (California) called for the establishment of Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. Hawaii senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both bills passed, and in 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed the resolution. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush expanded the celebration from a week to a month. Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is celebrated to commemorate the arrival in May 1843 of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States.

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