ALEX Learning Activity


A Postcard From a New World: Immigration & Urbanization

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Hannah Bradley
System:Dothan City
School:Carver Magnet School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2422
A Postcard From a New World: Immigration & Urbanization
Digital Tool/Resource:
From Ellis Island to Orchard Street with Victoria Confino
Web Address – URL:

Students will participate in an interactive website activity from the Tenement Museum in New York City. Then, students will create a postcard describing the experiences of immigrants in the United States in the early 1900s. 

This resource was created as a part of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 6
United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
2 ) Describe reform movements and changing social conditions during the Progressive Era in the United States.

•  Relating countries of origin and experiences of new immigrants to life in the United States
Example: Ellis Island and Angel Island experiences

•  Identifying workplace reforms, including the eight-hour workday, child labor laws, and workers' compensation laws
•  Identifying political reforms of Progressive movement leaders, including Theodore Roosevelt and the establishment of the national park system
•  Identifying social reforms of the Progressive movement, including efforts by Jane Adams, Clara Barton, and Julia Tutwiler (Alabama)
•  Recognizing goals of the early civil rights movement and the purpose of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
•  Explaining Progressive movement provisions of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-first Amendments to the Constitution of the United States
Unpacked Content
Strand: Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government
Course Title: United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Describe reform movements and changes in social conditions during the Progressive Era in the U.S.
  • Relate experiences of new immigrants.
  • Identify working conditions before and after workplace reforms.
  • Identify leaders associated with specific political and social reforms.
  • Recognize goals of the early Civil Rights Movement.
  • Explain key details of the Progressive Movement in specific amendments to the Constitution.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • immigrants
  • reforms
  • movements
  • 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 21st amendments origin
  • Progressive Movement
  • Populists
  • temperance
  • trustbuster
  • muckraker
  • repeal
  • Homestead Act
  • child labor
  • corporation
  • civil rights
  • Ellis Island
  • Angel Island
  • workman's compensation
  • Civil Rights Movement
Students will know:
  • Immigrant experiences at Ellis Island and Angel Island. Workplace reforms that took place during the Progressive Era (i.e., 8 hour work day, child labor laws, and workman compensation laws).
  • Key leaders of the Progressive Era that contributed to reforms in the United States (Theodore Roosevelt-National Parks System, Jane Adams-Hull House, Clara Barton-American Red Cross, Julia Tutwiler-Education/Prison Reform).
  • Social reforms of the Progressive Movement.
  • The early goals of the Civil Rights Movement and the purpose of the NAACP and other early civil rights organizations.
  • Provisions of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-first Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Students are able to:
  • Identify impacts of historical events.
  • Describe historical movements by comparing and contrasting.
Students understand that:
  • There were causes and the effects, both immediate and lasting, of various reform movements pertaining to immigration, labor, political, social, and constitutional amendments during the Progressive Era in the United States.
Alabama Archives Resources:
Click below to access all Alabama Archives resources aligned to this standard.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.6.2- Identify the problems created by industrialization and urbanization of the late 1800s including poor working conditions and unhealthy living conditions; define the concept of reform and identify at least one major reform of the Progressive Movement including child labor laws, 8-hour workdays, and cleaner living conditions in cities; identify the expansion of conservation efforts by the national parks and national forests.
SS.AAS.6.2a - Identify goals of the early civil rights movement and th

Learning Objectives:

Students will describe the experiences of new immigrants to life in the United States, with a focus on the experiences immigrants had while traveling through Ellis Island.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
During/Explore/Explain, After/Explain/Elaborate

1. Each student will need a copy of this Google Doc: Immigration & Urbanization Activity. The teacher can share this digitally or make a paper copy for each student.

2. The students will visit this website using a digital device: From Ellis Island to Orchard Street with Victoria Confino. Be sure to allow Flash player. Students can use headphones or earbuds to hear the audio commentary provided by the website. 

3. As students participate in the interactive website, students should take notes on the Google Doc provided (page 1). Tell students their notes will help them complete their final postcard product. 

4. Review page 2 of the Google Doc with students. This provides specific directions for the after activity, creating a postcard that describes the experiences of immigrants. 

5. The teacher will share the postcard template with students. The students will create their postcard according to the directions provided on the Google Doc. The students can use images from the internet, or the teacher can require students to illustrate the postcard by hand. Alternatively, the entire postcard can be created by hand, rather than using the digital template. 

Assessment Strategies:

The teacher will assess the during activity, the interactive website, by viewing students' notes. The teacher should ensure that students completed the entire activity and took sufficient notes regarding the immigrant experience. 

The teacher will assess the after activity, the postcard, by using the provided checklist on page 2 of the Google Doc. The teacher can assign point values to each criterion of the checklist if desired. 

Advanced Preparation:

This activity can be done completely digitally by sharing the links with students and requiring all products to be completed online. Alternatively, the teacher can print the Google Doc and postcard template and have students complete these items by hand. 

The students will need access to a digital device with internet access, in order to complete the interactive website activity. It is preferable for students to have headphones or earbuds to listen to the provided audio. 

The interactive website allows students to create a printable passport. Students can print the passport if printers are available. As another option, the students can recreate the passport shown in the activity on a piece of paper. 

Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: 1900s, ellis island, immigration, urbanization