12 million people were processed at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. More than 1.5 million students learned this fact and much more, on Thursday, March 29 at 1 p.m., during the virtual field trip to Ellis Island provided by Scholastic.
Scholastic contacted Ellis Island last summer as a potential site for a virtual field trip -- the first virtual field trip at a National Park Service (NPS) site. Previous virtual field trips have been at Liberty Science Center, N.J., Plymouth Plantation, Mass., and Clearwater Marina Aquarium, Fla., and are accessible to teachers who sign up online through the Scholastic web site. Park staff worked with Scholastic’s Vice President of Corporate Productions and Creative Services Billy DiMichele to create a program that met the students’ and teachers’ educational needs while remaining engaging and entertaining.
Three members of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island education staff were interviewed -- Katherine Craine, Melissa Magnuson-Cannady and Peter Wong. They spoke briefly about the NPS mission and what an NPS Ranger does. The focus of the virtual field trip, however, was the immigrant experience, and that gave park staff the chance to clear up some of the misconceptions about Ellis Island. “We were able to tell a huge nation-wide audience that people’s names were not changed at Ellis Island” said Katherine Craine, educational specialist for the park.
The field trip was a notable success -- with more than 3,600 questions from the students that were emailed in both ahead of and during the field trip. You can find the video on the Scholastic Web Site: http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/index.htm. It will remain here for a calendar year. We expect about 8 million more visitors to their web site- bringing the total audience of this field trip to be almost 10 million! That’s a little over 2 times our visitation for 2011. That’s why Scholastic + Ellis Island = Awesome.