In fourth grade students learn about the United States. Not only the 50 states and capitals but about who came to America and helped make it a "melting pot". Every year the 4th graders research their own family history to discover relatives who may have immigrated to America.
After completing a family tree, the students in Mrs. Feagan's class are asked to select a relative that may have immigrated here via Angel Island in California or Ellis Island in New York. Each student then portrays that ancestor and purchases a pretend passport from their class "savings account". Students prepare the necessary documents to come to America and relive the experience of Ellis Island. For their journey they select only five things that they can bring with them across the seas: something to remind them of their homeland, something to remind them of their family, something to entertain them on their voyage, something to eat that is non-perishable and something that they think would be useful in America.
Their classroom is transformed into the "Great Hall" where the students are examined by the school nurse. Each must pass a literacy test as well as the final examination by Mrs. Feagan where they are asked a variety of questions from the "29 Questions" form that all immigrants completed prior to their journey. Once the immigrant has passed all three inspections, he or she is welcomed to America with the hopes of someday becoming an American citizen and reaching their goal of a new and blessed life in the land of the free.