ALEX Learning Activity


Coming to America Through Ellis Island

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: Mindy Hutton
Organization:St. Joseph School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 48
Coming to America Through Ellis Island
Digital Tool/Resource:
Interactive Tour of Ellis Island
Web Address – URL:

This digital tool is an interactive virtual tour of Ellis Island.  Students will travel through the rooms of Ellis Island, learn the purpose for each room, see primary documents and photos, and hear stories from actual immigrants who came to America through Ellis Island.

  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 be able to relate countries of origin and Ellis Island experiences of new immigrants to life in the United States. 

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

The students will take time to explore and research Ellis Island Immigration Station through the virtual interactive tour.  They should interact with the rooms, primary documents, and immigrants' stories within the tour.  Once they have completed the tour, students should write a GIST summary on what they have learned about Ellis Island.  This statement should be exactly twenty words and precisely summarize their findings from the virtual tour.

Assessment Strategies:

A quick assessment of students' learning is the GIST statement.  This twenty-word statement forces students to be concise about the information they have learned about Ellis Island.

Advanced Preparation:

  • A computer with Internet accessibility is needed for each student.
  • Since this is a conclusion activity, students should be familiar with the background of Ellis Island and the immigrants who came through the station.
Variation Tips (optional):
Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: Ellis Island, immigrants