Virtual Field Trip Will Give More Than a Million Students an Early 20th Century Immigration Experience at Ellis Island

Free Scholastic live webcast for students helps teach the history of immigration in America


NEW YORK, NY — March 14, 2012 — More than a million students from across the U.S. will travel to Ellis Island in New York Harbor on March 29 to learn the history of immigration on a virtual field trip via a free live webcast on "Coming to America: Ellis Island" is an experiential supplement to free teaching resources and digital activities available to teachers in grades 3 to 8 at The site also includes an interactive archive of Ellis Island history, photographs, videos and audio; an interactive timeline on U.S. immigration; lesson plans, downloadable classroom activities, and immigration data going back to 1820., which has more than one million registered teacher users and thousands of pages of free content for teachers and students, will host the live virtual field trip to Ellis Island on March 29, 2012 at 1 p.m. ET. Students from across the country will join National Park Service Rangers on the historic island and follow the same path as the immigrants who arrived on Ellis Island from 1898-1924. Produced by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, in partnership with the National Park Service, the virtual field trip gives students an opportunity to learn about the history of the immigrant experience as new arrivals to America traveled through the Baggage Room, Registry Room, Stairs of Separation, and the rest of the island.

"In difficult economic times, many school budgets for field trips have been cut and teachers are looking for creative ways to keep classes engaged without leaving the classroom," said Kathy Walsh, Director of Teacher Outreach at Scholastic. "This free, live webcast is a great opportunity to bring the world to the classroom using digital tools. Regardless of where they are living, students across the United States can learn about the history of our ancestors as if they are walking the path they took through Ellis Island more than a century ago."

"The immigrant story is central to the American story. Since the colonial period, the dreams and hopes of immigrants and their drive to succeed in this 'land of opportunity' have shaped our nation," said David Luchsinger, Superintendent of Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. "This virtual field trip experience allows us to share that story interactively with more than 1.5 million students in a single 30-minute period. It’s a significant feat as in a typical year approximately 4.5 million visitors arrive at the park. We hope the students we reach through this program will be inspired to visit the national park in their own back yards and to one day visit us here at Liberty and Ellis islands."

"Coming to America: Ellis Island" is the latest in Scholastic's continuous series of live virtual field trips designed to give students everywhere a chance to visit unique places around the country and help schools make subjects like science, social studies and math come to life. Since its original broadcast in Fall 2010, nearly nine million students have visited Plimoth Plantation to learn about The First Thanksgiving. Previous virtual field trips include, a visit with Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus to Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, and before that, to meet Winter the Dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida.

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Nadia Almahdi