This unit was created by April Wallace, a middle and high school Geography teacher in Luverne, MN, as part of the spring 2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Stories of Migration. It is designed for facilitation across approximately ten 60-minute in-person or virtual class periods.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.

Unit Objectives:

Students will be able to…

  • Describe how the physical environment affects human settlement
  • Analyze how climate change has affected migration in various regions around the world
  • Evaluate effective policy in the face of climate change migration

Unit Overview:

In this unit, students will analyze how climate change affects migration around the world and the policies that could be effective in addressing the issue. To start, students will investigate what motivates people to move in general. Then students will read “The Great Climate Migration” by Abrahm Lustgarten and Meridith Kohut, where they will be introduced to how climate change may affect migration in the future.  Students will then investigate how climate change is impacting migration by reading and presenting about specific scenarios around the globe.  Finally, students will begin to research how policy can address climate migration to avoid disastrous outcomes in the future.

Scope and Sequence:

Day 1: Why do people move?

  • Introduce climate migration 

Part I: Emphasis on the urgency of climate change

Day 2: “The Great Climate Migration”

  • Students read part one of the article
  • Comprehension questions

Day 3: Global Examples of Climate Migration

  • Students read about one climate migration scenario
  • Analyze article and answer comprehension questions 
  • Create one pager to synthesize information 

Day 4: Finish One-Pager to Synthesize Information 

Day 5: Gallery Walk / Classroom Discussion on examples 

  • Make local connections to global scenarios (at the national and state level)

Part II: Emphasis on migration/climate change policy

Day 6: “The Great Climate Migration”

  • Students read part two of the article
  • Comprehension questions 

Day 7: What policy solutions exist for climate change migration? 

  • Research possible solutions: What solutions / policies would help alleviate these issues? 
  • Write questions in preparation for a virtual journalist visit

Day 8: Pulitzer Journalist Visit 

Days 9 and 10: Performance task - Create one of the following: 

  • Public Service Announcement: 
    • Multimedia project
    • Poster: Hang up in school
  • Letter to state or U.S. representative (Local or national solutions)
  • Letter to United Nations (International solutions)

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Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change
teal halftone illustration of a family carrying luggage and walking


Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees