Welcome Immigrants!


Research the great wave of immigration to the United States in the 1800s then create a model of an immigrant marketplace.


1. Independently or in small groups, research the history of immigrants who came to the United States starting in the late 1800s. Italians, Poles, Armenians, and other peoples from southern and eastern Europe came to the East Coast. Ellis Island, in New York, is known as The Golden Doorway, because so many immigrants entered through that port. On the West Coast, many immigrants from China, Korea, Russia, and Japan entered the country at Angel Island in San Francisco.

2. Inside a shoe box or similar recycled box, create an authentic marketplace that might have been found in an immigrant community. Use Crayola® Scissors to cut construction paper to make the background, signs, and other parts of the scene. Color and design the box and its lining with Crayola Markers. Attach construction paper to the box with Crayola School Glue.

3. Research and write signs in the language of the people portrayed, using Crayola Colored Pencils. For example, in an Eastern European chicken market, you might make signs in Hebrew. Hang signs from yarn glued to the box.

4. Dress clothespins to look like immigrant people. Cut fabric scraps to make authentic-looking dresses, shirts, and pants. Glue fabric on clothespins. Use Crayola Multicultural Markers for realistic skin colors. Glue the vendors and shoppers in place.

5. Glue cellophane over the front of your finished diorama.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

String-Like Materials—Includes string, raffia, lacing, yarn, ribbon, and other similar material. Children 3 years and younger should not be given any string-like material that is longer than 12 inches. Close adult supervision is essential whenever children use string-like material. When crafts are to be worn around the necks of children 8 years and younger, attach the ends of the “string-like material” with clear adhesive tape, which allows easy release of the bond if the craft becomes entangled or caught on equipment. For children older than 8 years, the ends of the “string-like material” may be tied and knotted.


  • Research and create dioramas to show where immigrants live in cities around the world. Often, tenements are crowded, and people of the same nationality gather in neighborhoods.
  • Imagine what it feels like to leave your homeland forever. How do immigrants make a life in their new country? What obstacles do they have to overcome? Historically, what jobs have been held by new immigrants? Find out how immigration played a role in your family's history.
  • Research the Statue of Liberty and what it signified for immigrants. Ponder this Emma Lazarus poem: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Multicultural Markers
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled boxes
  • yarn
  • cellophane
  • clothespins
  • fabric scraps



  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students research immigration to find out why people from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere left their homelands during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Students determine what living conditions were like when immigrants first settled in the United States or elsewhere during that period.

  • Children design and create a traditional immigrant marketplace with figures in authentic clothing and signs that represent the language and culture.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards