Ellis Island Immigrants

Open the golden door of Ellis Island and explore the history of immigration in the United States.

  • 1.

    Students research the history of immigration to the United States through Ellis Island.

  • 2.

    Students use their imagination to depict immigration through artwork.

  • 3.

    In the example shown for this lesson plan, a line from the Emma Lazarus poem The New Colossus is at the center of the artwork.

  • 4.

    Use Crayola® markers and crayons to draw pictures of: Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the quote from The New Colossus and the names of the countries from which many immigrants came.

  • 5.

    Cut the pictures out with Crayola scissors and arrange and glue onto a piece of construction paper.

  • 6.

    Students present and explain their artwork to the class.


  • LA: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
  • LA: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • LA: Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the way groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.
  • SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.
  • SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.
  • VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.


  • Classroom Resources include: Ellis Island (Symbols of American Freedom) by Hilarie Staton, At Ellis Island: A History in Many Voices by Louise Peacock, History Channel: The Ellis Island Experience DVD.
  • Students choose a country to research immigration to the United States. Write and present an oral report about their cultural contributions they brought to the US.
  • Students research the history of the Statue of Liberty and it’s symbolism to immigrants to the US.
  • Students read and analyze Emma Lazarus’ The New Colossus.