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 Education and Research Center
Educational Activities

Thinking Exercises in the Look, Listen and Learn Classroom

Meant for kids and their families, this educational resource gives families numerous opportunities to learn as they look together at one or more of the Museum's photographs.

One or more 'thinking exercises' are made available for various sections of the Museum. These exercises may be used independently, or they may be used in conjunction with other materials or exhibitions of the same or similar topic found elsewhere within the Museum. They may also be used as a basis for further discussions or study.

These exercises allow children to employ their imagination, to place themselves in various situations in which their ancestors found themselves many years ago. They may get to play the role of one or more people in a particular photograph and both ask and answer the questions that are posed to them. Of course, you or your children may wish to make up your own questions. There are no answers supplied to the questions posed by the Museum, as there are no right answers or wrong answers.

In these thinking exercises, one has the opportunity to do some creative thinking. Hopefully, the participant(s) in this exercise might find some relevance in their own life as they do these exercises. They may be important in understanding more about the history of their own family and of history in general.

Thinking Exercises

  Postcards from Home
Upper floor

Exercise: Is This My Family?

Many of us have photographs of individuals or families in our photo albums from pre-war Europe, but often times we really don't know who the people in these photos are. Does your family have such photographs? If so, can the people in the photographs  be part of your family?


From the Pale to the Golden Land: How Our Families Came to America, Main floor

Make believe you are a would-be immigrant as you board a steamer ship that will take you across the Atlantic Ocean to the port of Ellis Island. You must get from your hometown to the port where the ship is that will take you to Ellis Island. You must then board the ship and take a ten-day trans-Atlantic voyage. Finally, you must disembark, enter Ellis Island's Grand Hall and pass through the difficult inspection process....

Exercise: What Was It Like To Emigrate?

Exercise: What Was Ellis Island Like?


  Living in America: The Jewish Experience
Main floor

Exercise: What Would You Ask?

Many of us who become interested in learning more about our family's history often wait until it's too late to ask our family members questions about their lives. If you could go back in time and ask each member of your family only ten questions each, what would you ask?
  The Yiddish World
Second floor

Spend some time at the Museum's Yiddish Art Theatre of the 1920s and 30s. What was a Yiddish play like? What can you tell about a play's characters or a scene in a play, simply by studying a single photograph and thinking about what is occurring.

Exercise: So You Want To Be An Actor?

Exercise: Creating a Scene (at the Yiddish Art Theatre)




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