Farragut Primary School second-graders, under the direction of teachers Bill Sharp, Melinda Webster, Lori Moore, Laura Mitchell and Sarah Kerstetter, recently dressed the part and took on roles as European immigrants passing through Ellis Island during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Students selected ID cards, which listed various immigrant’s names and included their ages, country of origin, spoken language, occupations and other information, and the students were randomly assigned steamship tickets for first-class, second-class and steerage.
After pretending to cross the Atlantic Ocean, they were greeted by a replica of the Statue of Liberty and disembarked to the “Registry Room” and “Great Hall” to fill out paperwork and undergo simulated medical and legal exams to “gain entrance” to the United States.
After successful “completion,” they were able to meet up with family and friends at the “Kissing Post,” where they received U.S. flags to celebrate their arrival.
“This simulation gave students the chance to apply the skills they learned in school to personally relevant and real-world situations,” Webster said. “Through discussions at home with their families, many of our students learned they had relatives to pass through Ellis Island. They were also able to make connections to our study about different cultures and holidays celebrated by various groups of people and how these traditions and customs were brought into the U.S.”