Lesson Plan

Human Migration: Why Do People Move It, Move It?

This lesson is part of a larger unit on the migrations of humankind. Students will understand the factors affecting migration and consider how political, economic, social, and natural events may influence human movement.
Barbara T.
Educational Technology TOSA
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, English-Language Learning, Health & Wellness

Students will be able to explain reasons why humans migrate including push/pull factors and whether the migration was voluntary, reluctant, or forced. 

Social Studies
Grades 3 – 6
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Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook 'Em: Building Schema

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Students will watch three curated videos of  different immigrant experiences and reflect on similarities and differences in their stories. As they watch the videos, students will write down different reasons for migration. 


2 Instruction: Finding Commonalities

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The teacher will create a blank canvas in Padlet and share the link with students.

Students will review their notes and add at least two new sticky notes with their name for the title to the Padlet canvas. (The name is important because it holds students accountable and allows you to identify the author for further discussion.)

The teacher will call on students to read their responses individually. With the addition of each digital sticky note, the teacher will ask students if their notes are similar to others and if they can be grouped in any way.  As the class participates in this sharing and organizing, commonalities will emerge as migration is typically a result of  political, economic, social, and natural  events. Teachers should guide the students to naming each subgroup.

If there are any gaps in what the students contributed, the teacher should ask questions to generate more input from the class and add the additional notes to the Padlet.

Based on the reasons for migration they have discovered, the teacher will lead the class in creating a shared Google Doc with interview questions they could ask someone that addresses different potential reasons for migration. This Doc will be used as a template for gathering interview data in the next step. Older students may be able to create a template of their own to use.

3 Practice: Gathering and Sharing Data: The Interview

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Using the Google Docs template of questions generated in the previous step, students will conduct an interview of a family member or someone from the community about their or their family 's migration history. The interview will include questions about why this person came to the USA and how they got here- specifically the mode of transportation and the route they traveled.

If families are unable or unwilling to participate in the interview, staff members on campus have agreed to share their experiences and those of their families with students.

Using the data collected in the interview, students will write a narrative in Google Docs explaining why this person left their home country, the push/pull factors contributing to their migration, and how they came to the USA.

4 Wrap Up: Reflection

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Students will review each others' writing. Using the Comment feature in Google Docs. students will add comments throughout their peers' interview narratives noting the reasons migration took place and push/pull factors that are mentioned. Students will also give each other one constructive piece of advice of how to make their narrative better. Students will have the opportunity to review their writing again, making any needed revisions.

As a class, review the Padlet that was created previously. Discuss which of the factors they added to the Padlet were considerations for the person they interviewed. Analyze the input. What were the most and least common factors. Were there some unusual reasons that were not on the original Padlet? 




5 Extension: Visualizing Migration

Based on the information they have collected, students will create a Google My Map (look for it in Google Drive.) This map will include at least four geographic points the person or family traveled through including where they began and where they live now. 

The map must include the name of the city, state (if applicable), country, and an image that represents each location.  They are encouraged to copy and paste information from their interview narrative into the data fields in My Maps to create a visual story of migration. Alternatively, students can can write new content for each location that reflects the data that was gathered in the interview.