Units March 20, 2024

Untold Stories of Long Beach

Lesson Summary: Students connect themes from The 1619 Project to historical and contemporary stories from Long Beach, cultivating a richer context for personal, local, and national culture and community. Downloads: Unit resources

This unit was created by the LBUSD/UCI Teacher Academy as part of the 2023 cohort of The 1619 Project Education Network. It is designed for facilitation across approximately four 88-minute sessions.

In this unit, students explore their origin stories and discover how their personal and family histories are a part of a larger community and national history. 
This unit begins with an exploration of personal culture and identity. Leveraging Born on the Water as an anchor text and an example of an origin story, students embark on an investigation of their own origin stories through reflection, interview/oral histories, and family discussions while learning about their peers’ identities and histories, thereby building classroom community.

Students also study a variety of primary and secondary sources (charts, maps, photos, documents, etc.) about Long Beach on the themes of education, student agency and activism, migration, power, economy, and environment to develop an understanding and context for their local community. The study culminates in students working together to develop museum artifacts (storyboard or script, infographic, and/or one-page reflection) that answer the questions: What does it mean to be a Long Beacher? How does this story and our community connect to what it means to be an American?

The individual artifacts will belong to a class exhibit, “The Museum of Untold Stories of Long Beach.” Designed as an introduction for a US History or US Government course, students will analyze how their family’s history informs a larger historical narrative and how their connection to the local community connects to a larger, national identity. 

Guiding Questions:

  • What is culture?
  • What does culture mean to me?
  • How does Born on the Water and the cultural bag activity help me understand Long Beach's history and my individual story?
  • How do I understand Long Beach's history?
  •  How do I understand my origin story in Long Beach history?How do my story and our community connect to what it means to be an American?


Students will…

  • Articulate their identity and reflect on their individual culture
  • Read, discuss and analyze a variety of sources
  • Engage in contextual learning about their own lives, the history of their community and their relationship to US history
  • Synthesize and interpret information collaboratively to develop a representation of their place in history

Performance Task

In small groups, students create a class exhibit entitled Untold Stories of Long Beach [.pdf][.docx] to demonstrate their learning about history, identity and community. Students will leverage themes and ideas introduced by the range of primary and secondary sources as well as the unit’s anchor text, Born on the Water

Small groups collect at least four artifacts on a chosen theme. Students can select from the following presentations of knowledge.

  • Storyboard and script for a play/Vblog/podcast
  • Infographic
  • One-page reflection

Students will also discuss and provide their responses to the essential questions: 

  • How are these artifacts reflective of me? 
  • How is my history reflected in the curated artifacts? 
  • What does it mean to be a Long Beacher, and how do I fit into this larger community? 
  • How do the sources explored in this unit help us understand Long Beach's history and your story/place in it? 
  • How can I positively impact my community? How do my story and our community connect to what it means to be an American?

Performance Task Evaluation

A rubric [.pdf][.docx] is used to assess the summative performance task


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