This unit has been designed for grades 9-12. The recommended timeframe is 1-2 weeks.

Our curriculum frameworks are created by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and her Curriculum 21 faculty.

Big Ideas / Enduring Understandings

  • Archaeological and scientific studies provide a basis for humans to better understand themselves.

  • Migration of humans affects the chance for survival.

  • Over time, migrations of a species lead to permanent changes/mutations in the species and their cultures.

  • The history of a people’s culture impacts change.

Essential Questions

  • How can archaeological studies and genography assist us in understanding how we have become the people we are currently?

  • In what ways can migration of a species affect the chance for survival?

  • How have migrations of humans led to permanent change in the human race?

  • How can the history of a species prevent change?

Common Core Standards

  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies
    Grade 9-12 Students
    Reading Standards for Informational Text: Key Ideas and Details
    1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (Grades 9-10)
    2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text. (Grades 9-10)
    3. Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them. (Grades 9-10)

  • Reading Standards for Informational Text: Craft and Structure
    5. Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging. (Grades 11-12)
    6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text. (Grades 11-12)

  • Reading Standards for Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
    7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem. (Grades 11-12)
    8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning. (Grades 9-10)

  • Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies
    Grade 9-12 Students
    Text Types and Purposes
    1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. (Grades 9-10)
    A. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    B. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
    C. Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
    E. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

  • 3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. (Grades 11-12)
    a. Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
    b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    c. Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).
    d. Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
    e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

  • Production and Distribution of Writing
    5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Grades 11-12)
    6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information. (Grades 11-12)

  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge
    8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation. (Grades 11-12)

  • NETS Standards

    Creativity and Innovation
    1. Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
    a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
    b. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
    c. Identify trends and forecast possibilities.

    Communication and Collaboration
    2. Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
    a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of media and formats.
    b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
    d. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

    Research and Information Fluency
    3. Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
    a. Plan strategies to guide inquiry.
    b. Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
    c. Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
    d. Process data and report results.

    Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
    4. Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tolls and resources.
    a. Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
    b. Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
    c. Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

    Digital Citizenship
    5. Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.
    b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
    d. Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

    Technology Operations and Concepts
    6. Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
    b. Select and use applications effectively and productively.
    d. Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.


  1. A. Geography (Geographical variations, 23rd Parallel, Path of the walk Out of Eden)

  2. B. Research (Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Validity of Sources, Quality of Sources)

  3. C. Common Human Origins

  4. D. Human Migration and Development (Causes, Effects, Connections to Current Migration and Development of Humans, Political Unrest)

  5. E. Religion

  6. F. Environmental Changes (Causes, Effects, Natural Resources, Urbanization, Connections to Current Environmental Changes)

  7. G. Political Influences on Human Migration and Development (Causes, Effects, Outcomes)

Skills / Strategies

  1. A. Relate geographical variations to the historical migrations of humans.

  2. A. Analyze the significance of the 23rd Parallel to human origins and migration.

  3. A. Compare and contrast the paths of historical wanderers/walkers with the path that Salopek is taking to track the migration and development of humans.

  4. B. Explain the difference and applicability of primary and secondary sources.

  5. B. Explain the arguments listed in primary and secondary sources of information about historical migrations of humans.

  6. B. Evaluate arguments in primary and secondary sources and identify inconclusive evidence.

  7. C. Identify and compare varying accounts of human origins.

  8. C. Analyze a multitude of accounts of human origins.

  9. D. Evaluate the causes of human migration and the outcomes of said migrations.

  10. D. Assess the effects of human migrations on human development.

  11. D. Compare and contrast current human migrations with historical migrations and predict the effect on future human development.

  12. D. Assess the effect that political unrest and boundaries have had on historical human migrations.

  13. E. Analyze the relationship between religion and human migration and development.

  14. F. Delineate the causes of environmental change and provide evidence of the impact that environment change has had on massive human migrations.

  15. F. Provide evidence to document the effects of environmental changes on human development.

  16. F. Analyze the way in which natural resources have influenced environmental changes and caused massive human migrations.

  17. F. Assess and explain how urbanization has influenced environmental changes and caused massive human migrations.

  18. F. Provide evidence to support and explain how the causes of historical climate changes and migrations are related to the current climate changes.

  19. F. Predict what migrations might occur today because of the current climate changes.

  20. G. Explain and support claims on how political unrest affects human migration and development.

  21. G. Explain the possible effects of current migrations on political systems.

  22. G. Predict the outcomes of current specific migrations of humans.

Key terms / Vocabulary

  • Pilgrimage

  • Migration

  • Herodotus

  • Mutations

  • Nomads

  • 23rd Parallel

  • Extinction

  • Urbanization

  • Natural Science

  • Genography

  • Paleolithic

Learning Plan & Activities

  • A. Conduct group discussions predicting the successes and obstacles that Paul Salopek might experience on this trek to trace the origin and development of human beings. Use a collaborative tool such as Type With Me to collect thoughts and opinions and analyze data. Analyze and summarize the data collected from the group discussions and share this information with the class orally or on a class wiki.

  • B. Use World Mapper or another such site to collect data on historical world-wide migration. Present the data using charts and graphs. Use this data for the written work listed later.

  • C. Use a site such as to create multimedia posters online outlining the path Paul Salopek is walking, adding text, movies, audio and images to visualize the problems or issues he is encountering along the way. Students link individual glogs to others that share a connection or have a deeper explanation of a particular topic/issue.

  • D. Use the charts, graphs and data collected, in addition to the group discussion data, to create an Infographic on Pikto Chart or another service. Tweet the created infographic by sharing the #outofeden hashtag with other classrooms who are following the walk “Out of Eden.”

  • E. Use Edu Blogs to share information about Paul Salopek’s journey, a map of his route, his progress, a list of problems that Paul is experiencing on his journey, and his solutions to those problems with other classmates and classrooms who are following his journey. This site has the functionality of RSS feeds, comments, widgets, plugins, etc.

  • F. Debate: Both Sides of the Statement: “Migration of humans from the beginning of their time on Earth to modern day has had a profound effect on the development of human beings as a species.” The teacher and students will collaborate on designing a rubric to evaluate the thoroughness and quality of the arguments presented in the debate.

  • G. Use a backchannel (private chatroom), such as Today's Meet to allow students to collaboratively take live notes of the debate, add questions that the moderator of the debate might use to ask further questions. Students have the ability to use the backchannel log to later review and harvest important points made or information shared.

  • H. Connect with another class, following the Out of Eden Intro, via Skype (synchronously) to debate both sides of the statement used for the debate or use a tool such as VoiceThread to debate (asynchronously).

  • I. Create a classroom Twitter account or individual student Twitter accounts to document the journey, connecting your classroom’s conversation and learning to others following along via #outofeden hashtag

  • J. Make contact to speak to “experts” from around the world via Skype or Twitter (organize and participate in an #outofedenchat to discuss topics, content or curriculum related to walk Out of Eden projects.) Reach out to your Personal Learning Network (PLN) to make these connections via Twitter, Facebook, Ning Memberships, web based projects, etc.

  • K. Choose to use a Social Bookmarking service, such as Diigo or Delicious, to collaboratively find, bookmark, tag and annotate relevant resources related to Out of Eden Intro. Choose a common tag, such as “Out_of_Eden” to identify and connect the resources together.

  • L. Create a Wiki as the platform for collaborative research, embedded student created materials, such as multimedia posters, audio or video files, and images. Consider “crowdsourcing” sections of your wiki by soliciting and inviting collaborators.

  • M. Consider forming or joining a Quad-blogging group, a team of four classrooms focused on blogging together for a period of 4 weeks. Each week one team is the lead team in writing quality blog posts, while the other three times concentrate on commenting on the lead team’s blog. Every week the lead team role rotates to another class. The focus of the blog posts can be current news or global issues related to the walk, politics of countries or regions being traversed, or reflection on essential questions, etc.

  • N. Create a collaborative, annotated digital map. This could be created among students of your class or collaborating with another class following Paul Salopek’s journey on Google Maps. Add different placemarks to locations of the walk. Students need to choose a title for each placemark and add a short summary of events taking place during Paul’s walk, add links to current political, environmental news or other relevant websites, and insert related images or move to the location of the placemark. Placemarks can also be categorized into different topics (ex. political, environmental, economical, historical, global issues, etc.).

  • O. Use Google Docs to have students write collaboratively, peer edit, leave comments and suggestions for each other and aid in the editing process. Shift from “turning in" writing process samples to “sharing” writing in order to make the writing process transparent and improve editing opportunities.

  • P. As the Walk out of Eden progresses, students create a visual dictionary of vocabulary words they are unfamiliar with or consider important to the context of the journey. They can use presentation software, such as PowerPoint (PC), Keynote (mac/iPad app) or PicCollage (iPad app) to create these visual dictionaries. Students will continue adding words, definitions and visuals as the walk progresses. Visual dictionary pages can be exported as images to be included in a wiki or a blog. Students could also become contributors to a collaborative Visual Dictionary eBook to be created from submissions from various students, classes within your school, or classes in other classes around the world that are following Paul’s journey .

  • Q. Students create an Out of Eden Facebook group. The group moderator role will alternate amongst all of the students, and the moderator will link to new information becoming available, upload images, share links, post discussion questions, add polls, etc.

  • R. Students, in groups, collaboratively build an interactive timeline (story) using My Histro. Students will add individual events to their “stories”, sequencing the events from Paul Salpek’s journey and their equivalent events in history.


  • A. Results of discussion group opinions and conclusions through pictures, music, video, graphs, or other digital formats incorporated into one presentation.

  • B. Charts, graphs, and data created on World Mapper or another such website to indicate migration of the earth’s people in modern times.

  • B. Summary and analysis of data collected on migration trends and conclusions shared on a class wiki.

  • C. Multi-media posters outlining the path of the walk “Out of Eden” to indicate the students’ skills in media literacy and their understanding of the connection between content and media.

  • D. Infographic demonstrating understanding and correlation between charts, graphs and data generated and collected in previous assessments or activities

  • E. Analysis of discussions on the blogs and explanation of possible solutions to the problem of massive migration of humans.

  • F. Debate and evaluation of arguments on both sides of the statement.

  • F. Rubric created by students and teacher to evaluate the debate presentation.

  • G. Backchannel log as a review and assessment tool to check for student understanding and further questions.

  • H. Recorded Skype conversation or debate for presentation and communication skills as well as understanding of content.

  • H. VoiceThread conversation as evidence of background knowledge and ability to articulate a particular side of the issue.

  • I. Twitter stream serves as documentation of student learning process, ability to connect to an audience and network with peers and experts from around the world.

  • J. Video of the Skype sessions and/or actual twitter entries of discussions, the content discussed, and the connections to current curriculum.

  • K. List of the annotated bookmarks collected, tagged and categorized, related to Out of Eden.

  • M. The actual blog posts with the current news and global issues related to Paul’s walk.

  • N. The actual Google Map which gives insight to students’ understanding of relationship between geographic location and global issues, historic and modern events or Paul Salopek’s experiences and current news.

  • O. Written, digital, photographic, or musical narrative that develops an imagined migration that the student’s ancestors might have taken to better their circumstances. The student will use the applicable narrative techniques such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines to develop characters and move the narration to its conclusion that solves the problem or situation.

  • P. Visual dictionary

  • Q. List and quality of the student’s new information, uploaded images, shared links, posted discussion questions, and other items posted during the student’s term as moderator of the Facebook discussion group.

  • R. Each student’s individual events and portions of the interactive story.