• Immigrants awaiting inspection in front of Ellis Island's Main Building

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

Curriculum Materials

  • People seated in a courtroom setting with three judges at front with other officials (Photochrom image).

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    Board of Special Inquiry

    Students decide if an immigrant could legally be allowed to enter the country. Explore »

  • Black and white image of immigrants and officials in the Great Hall on Ellis Island

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    Checking In

    Students play the role of the immigrant during a legal examination at Ellis Island. Explore »

  • The lychee fruit looks like a berry with a hard scaly reddish outer covering and sweet whitish edible flesh (that surrounds a single large seed).

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    Neighborhood Treats

    Try new foods like immigrants frequently do Explore »

  • Text and political cartoons in the Peak Immigration Years Exhibit in the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

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    Peak Immigration Years

    Students compare past and contemporary political cartoons. Explore »

  • Worksheet about push and pull factors using a t-chart.

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    Push and Pull Factors I

    Students learn why immigrants would choose to leave their homes in two time periods. Explore »

  • Busy street scene in an ethnic neighborhood in New York City circa 1900; photochrom format.

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    Finding a Home

    Students determine the best place for an immigrant family to settle in the United States. Explore »

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  • Ellis Island Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument

    Board of Special Inquiry

    Board of Special Inquiry

    Immigrants who failed the initial inspection at the Great Hall had to undergo a more lengthy interrogation at the Board of Special Inquiry. Immigrants had about ten minutes to convince at least two of three judges they were upstanding individuals who had not committed any crimes. These inspectors acting as judges heard up to two hundred cases each day. In this activity, students will get the chance to play the role of an inspector hearing the pleas of six immigrants.

  • Ellis Island Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument

    Finding a Home

    Finding a Home

    As immigrants finished processing at Ellis Island, many waited with hopes, fears, and anticipation about where they chose to settle. Some preferred the comforts of immigrant communities nearby, whereas others hoped to find better job opportunities outside the greater New York area. Finding a Home simulates the experience of being a newly-arrived immigrant excited to take their next steps in America.

  • Ellis Island Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument

    Push and Pull Factors I

    Push and Pull Factors I

    In the mid-to-late 1800s, large number of immigrants crossed the Atlantic Ocean to begin new lives in the United States. This activity explores the reasons why immigrants elected to leave their native countries, and examines how these factors are similar or different in immigration today.

  • Ellis Island Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument

    Checking In

    Checking In

    For many immigrants, the legal examination in the Registry Room represented the greatest challenge at Ellis Island. Immigrants needed to remember information they submitted weeks earlier right before the ship embarked for the United States. After arriving at Ellis Island, immigrants endured a medical inspection, and waited nervously for around five hours, before the legal examination was conducted. In this activity, students will play an immigrant being questioned at Ellis Island.

  • Ellis Island Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument

    Peak Immigration Years

    Peak Immigration Years

    Use visually-engaging primary documents to help students contemplate and discuss contemporary issues related to immigration (particularly, in the Closing the Doors room of the Peak Immigration Years exhibit). In addition, this program should encourage critical thinking about published images and words that promote a particular point of view.

  • Ellis Island Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument

    Neighborhood Treats

    Neighborhood Treats

    Immigrants who were detained overnight were introduced to a variety of foods that they tried for the very first time at Ellis Island. In oral history interviews men, women, and children alike spoke in great detail about tasting Jello, white bread, and bananas, and oftentimes sent letters back home describing their awe, nervous anticipation, and the tastes and textures of these foods. In this lesson, students will learn about the different foods that contribute to the immigrant tradition today.

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