Ellis Island Simulation

This Ellis Island Simulation activity & project also includes:

Young historians step into the shoes of immigrants coming to Ellis Island. A simulation creates an experience in which participants visit several rooms, go through an interview process, and receive a stamp in their passport—either making their way into the United States of America or being deported. The simulation ends with a patriotic celebration. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Visit the library to gather a collection of books on immigration and Ellis Island
  • Assign a reflection piece where pupils write on paper or a blog post about their experience, sharing how they felt, what they learned, and ask any remaining questions 
Classroom Considerations

  • Be sensitive to the deportation portion of the lesson, consider your population and how that topic will affect them
  • The activity requires several classrooms and a large open space such as the gym or cafeteria
  • This resource isn't written like a lesson plan but more as an overview meant for colleagues or administration 

  • Incorporates parent volunteers 
  • A hands-on learning experience boosts engagement and proficiency 

  • Example letters and templates are provided but you will need to make materials from scratch