Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ellis Island activity

(Click on photos to enlarge)

On September 11 we went to an activity we heard about through the homeschool e-mail lists. All we knew was that it was about Ellis Island and citizenship.

When we got to the park it was filled with flags.

We watched a video on Ellis Island and the immigration experience. Then we went through the flags to 10 checkpoints where the kids could read quotes, think about the commitments of citizenship, and initial their "passports."

The kids each took a 10-question citizenship test.
T.'s test had questions like "What do the stars on the flag mean?"
A.'s questions included "Can the Constitution be changed?" and "Who is the Vice President of the United States today?"
M. had to answer questions like "What are the three branches of our government?" and "How many amendments are there to the Constitution?" and "What are the duties of Congress?"
I'm happy to say that all 3 of them passed their tests. Then we had our "paperwork" checked. (The man in charge of this was very thorough and wouldn't let us proceed until everything was properly signed and initialed. I thought that was a realistic touch!) Once we were approved, we all got to take the oath of citizenship.

We talked afterward about the significance of the day and about being good citizens. Then we went to Burger King for lunch. Then there was the long drive home with arguments in the backseat. Then there was moderate crankiness in the afternoon. But when Mike got home from work, the kids had a lot to tell him about the activity, so I think it was meaningful for them. It definitely was for me.

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