Welcome to Ellis Island (Or Not) One of our 3rd/4th grade classes has been learning about immigration. They have studied the various waves of immigration to the United States, as well as the “push” and “pull” factors that influence immigration. For example, “push” factors might include famine, like the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840’s; or persecution, like the pogroms against the Jews in the Russian Pale. “Pull” factors include new job prospects, religious freedoms, and economic stability. Students are also learning their own family’s personal immigration story and assembling a family tree. As part of the immigration project, the students’ classroom became Ellis Island. Each child received a profile of an immigrant in 1910 and created a passport. The children “traveled” with their “families” on the S.S. Rose to arrive at Ellis Island, where they had to pass five inspection stations. The first station they came to was the medical exam. Those who were found ill, lame, or suspicious were marked with chalk. Those who arrived as first class passengers were handed an orange! Next came the “information intake.” This was followed by an extensive interview. Via a prior virtual tour of Ellis Island, and learning about “push” and “pull” factors, the students had their answers ready. Then, if they had made it this far, they had to go through passport control to hopefully receive the all-important stamp of entry. Finally, a baggage check. It looks like this guy brought something the customs agent wasn’t too happy with. The end result: Two students were deported, a few were detained and needed to be at the hospital on Ellis Island, some needed further questioning. Afterwards the students took the same kind of test that was given at Ellis Island, and they scored themselves to see if they passed.

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