The Feature Profile Test was a wooden block puzzle test administered to Ellis Island immigrants because IQ tests involved language translation issues. Instead, the Feature Profile Test became an instant nonverbal IQ assessment. The Feature Profile was made from wooden blocks that—if placed in the proper order—formed the profile of a human face.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, this test was used at Ellis Island in the early 1900’s to keep out “feeble-minded” immigrants. The idea was that if an immigrant could not assemble the puzzle properly, then this person could not contribute to a “better class” of American citizenry.
This lesson is a paper version of the wooden block puzzle and includes discussion questions for your students.