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.
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
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)
This unit is assessed through the following formative and summative assessments.
- Completed comprehension question worksheets for “The Great Climate Migration”
- Completed graphic organizers summarizing global climate change scenarios
- Completed map showing current and projected global “Hot Zones”
- One-pager summarizing and illustrating one global climate change scenario students learn about from Pulitzer Center news stories (see images above for examples)
The performance task at the end of the unit will be a project where students advocate for policies that would address climate migration through a letter to the local, national, or international representative of the student’s choice. The culmination project will require students to display the knowledge they have acquired over the course of the lesson. They should be able to summarize the potential impact of climate change on migration and human settlement around the globe, while also advocating for possible solutions.
Minnesota Social Studies Standards:
126.96.36.199.1 Analyze the interconnectedness of the environment and human activities, and the impact of one upon the other
188.8.131.52.3 Explain migration patterns in the modern era at a range of scales, local to global.
184.108.40.206.1 Make inferences and draw conclusions about the physical and human characteristics of places based on a comparison of maps and other geographic representations and geospatial technologies.