Lesson Plan

Show Me the Way: Examining Animal Migration

Students will learn about the various types of animals that migrate, and why they do so
Lily O.
Classroom teacher
The Pike School, Andover, MA
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My Grades 1, 2
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to... define the terms "migration," "mass migration," and "tracking."

Students will be able to... identify at least three animals that migrate.

Students will be able to... explain key reasons as to why animals migrate.


Grades 2 – 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Find the Link

Activity: Conversing

The teacher will present photographs of Canadian Geese, Great White Sharks, Monarch Butterflies, Caribou, and Grey Whales. 

The students will be tasked with finding out what all five seemingly very different animals have in common. This may take place in pairs or small groups, but should be a collaborative effort. 

Students will then share their ideas with the rest of their classmates, either on the rug or in another whole-class format. 

2 All About Migration

If the students don't come up with the answer on their own, the teacher can either a) tell them that all five animals migrate or b) split the class into five groups and have them research each animal. 

Either way, the fact that all five animals migrate should be discovered. The class should then watch the PBS video, "Planetary Movements," which discusses various species that migrate and why they do so. 

The teacher will then define the key terminology, and ask students to recall information from the video that supports the terms. 

The reasons why animals migrate (food, water, mating, weather) should also be discussed as a class. 

3 Define That!

Next, the students will work in small groups to represent the key terms and the reasons why animals migrate (weather, mating, food, water) in some way. This could be through one of the apps above (Educreations, Explain Everything, Seesaw, Padlet), a word splash, a YouTube video, an audio recording, a picto-gloss or picture dictionary, a semantics map...the possibilities are endless! 

The teacher should combine all of the group projects into one space for the remainder of the unit of study, so that students can retrieve their work and use it for reference. Students will also benefit from seeing their peers' creations. 

4 Animal Exploration

For independent practice, the students will choose one of the five animals presented at the beginning of the lesson to research. 

They will research their animal through one of the resources listed above. There is a ton of rich, multi-media information incorporated into these resources. Students should then submit a brief essay detailing their animal's migration patterns and reasons for migrating. After the essays are edited, they should be uploaded to the class' definitions compilation. The teacher could use Wordpress to compile all of the information into one place, as well. In addition, the teacher could use this essay as a summative assessment.