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Ellis Island Immigrants

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

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    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.
  • Standards

    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.

  • Adaptations

    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.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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