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Oakwood School

A Day In The Life Of Ellis Island: A Simulation

Second-grade students at Oakwood School learned that it's not easy to immigrate to America. In their last history unit of the year, students learned about Ellis Island and immigration. Each student selected a country of origin from their ancestry and participated in an Ellis Island immigration simulation to learn more about this historic time.

To experience the journey that immigrants made to enter the country in the early 1900s, many students dressed in clothes representing their home countries, and we asked them to bring something that would remind them of home—a small treasure, so to speak. The students created passports and luggage for the journey.

The interactive experience began with learning how crowded the ships were and the poor food quality for most passengers. After their simulated boat ride, they had to wait in long lines for questioning and examinations, which landed some in the infirmary and even the detention center. Students were welcomed to America by Legal Inspector Shales. Once they had passed all of the necessary tasks, they were granted entry into the country. The students then celebrated with an international feast.

While some parts were more difficult than others, the students were able to experience, both in a fun and realistic way, what immigrants from all over the world went through to come to America. It's an experience they will never forget!