Student Page

Introduction Student Page Teacher Page Final Thoughts


  1. Research reasons people came and patterns of where they came from.
  2. Take on an identity of an immigrant. Research and complete story of identity.
  3. Research Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
  4. Write script for play and make props.
  5. Perform play.
  6. Write one page summary.

Learning Advice

You will be collecting a lot of information, so it is important to stay organized. Write down your main ideas, sketch pictures, or print one page from each site you visit. Keep your material in a group folder or one of your own. Use your time wisely at the computer so you can find all the necessary information in the time allotted. Do your best at memorizing your lines but if you forget you can always ad-lib to keep the flow of the play going. Have the idea of what you are dramatizing always in mind so you can stay in character and be convincing.

Step 1: Overview of Immigration

Create a knowledge chart with your class on what you already know about immigrants. Then break into groups and answer the following questions after researching the Internet links and using your textbook.

  1. What is an immigrant?
  2. What were the reasons immigrants came to America?
  3. Name three groups of immigrants and tell when they came and what country they were from.

Choose a spokesperson and share your answers with the class. The teacher will record on the knowledge chart.

Links for Overview

Harvard Immigration Project

Us.Immigration into the United States

Step 2: Immigrant Identity
Choose or have your teacher assign you a country your immigrant is from. Research using the Internet links. Take notes using the 5 W's(Who, What, Where, When, Why). Organize your notes into a notebook labeled with country, and your name. Draw a sketch of an immigrant from your country in cultural dress and sketch any ideas you have for props as you research.

Country Research Links


Potato Famine:
Irish clothes:
Irish culture:




Brief statistics:
Reasons Immigrants left Germany:


Brief details:


Brief details:
Italians in America:


Brief details:
Polish Art:


Brief details:

Step 3: Research Ellis Island

In your notebook label a new piece of paper. Take notes as you research these links. Two links are virtual tours. Remember you are going to be dramatizing these events so pay attention to the little details.

Ellis Island Virtual Tour
Port of Entry
Pictures of Ellis Island and Immigrants

Make a Statue of Liberty

You will be making the Statue of Liberty as a prop. Some of the details about the history and the structure you will need to include in your play so take notes.

Statue of Liberty Facts
Statue of Liberty by 4th graders
Poem of The New Colossus

Step 4: Write story of Immigrant

First read actual stories written by Immigrants

German Immigrant Story:
German Journeys to America:

Now, take on your identity of an immigrant. Fill out the planning guide and then write your story by adding details from your research.

Story Planning Guide: Adapted from Creative Teaching Press Theme Immigration

My name is (immigrant identity)

I am _______years old. I speak (languages)___________________.

I come from__________________.

In my country I was a _______________(job or grade of student)

I lived with __________________.

I left my country because_______________.

I journeyed to America in (year)_____ on (name of ship)__________.

When I first saw the Statue of Liberty I said,_____________________.

Getting processed at Ellis Island was _______________. This is what happened__________.

My hopes for a new life in America are______________.

In America, I plan to live in (city, state)_____________because __________.

I will earn a living by __________________.

America is different from my country in these ways:________

Write your play

Next, in your group talk about an immigrant's arrival in America and being processed at Ellis Island. Write a script for role-playing and dramatizing this event. Include why, when and how your group came to America. Dramatize being processed on Ellis Island and include how you felt when you saw the Statue of Liberty. Possible characters in your play: immigration official, narrator, immigrant papa, mama, child. Possible props: train ticket, passport, ID tag, Statue of Liberty with Colossus poem written. Cultural dress for immigrant family may include hats, scarves, aprons, jackets etc. You may want to record patriotic music for scene changes or background for the narrator.

Step 5: Perform play

Have all your props and costumes ready . You will need to be able to quickly change your props between each group's scene so be sure you have practiced this in action. Have your play written with each character's lines so your teacher can prompt you if necessary. Be an attentive audience so you will have all the information for your "one pager".

Step 6: What did you learn? Write one page summary.

Write "one pager" on why immigrants came, patterns of immigration throughout America's history, procedures immigrants followed at Ellis Island, history of Statue of Liberty, and the symbolism of it in the immigrant experience. Mount your "One Pager" on black construction paper and decorate the border around it with starbursts symbolizing fireworks.

Fun Extensions if time permits:

Photo courtesy of