This unit was created by Neil Cruz, a high school history teacher in Carol Stream, IL, as part of the 2021-2022 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across approximately five class periods.

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

Unit Objectives:

Students will be able to…

  • Use illustration and empathy mapping to describe conflicts and events that spur human migration
  • Develop a final project of a book sample to engage a reader in students’ chosen conflict or event.

Additionally, students will practice skills such as:

  • Making connections to migration stories in their own lives and communities
  • Integrating information from diverse sources into a coherent understanding of an event
  • Introducing a topic and organize ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections
  • Generating original ideas and products in imaginative ways

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.

Performance Task:

Students will:

  • Choose the story of one individual who has migrated from the country.
  • Create the cover of a book and develop a title for the book.
  • Provide a summary on the back cover of the book.
  • Write the last page of the book, which gives an imagined perspective of how the migrant wishes that their story could end.

Scope and Sequence:

Day 1 Lesson Objective(s) or Essential Question(s)

  • Students will choose a region of the world where a conflict has driven someone to migrate to a new country. 
  • Students will watch a short video that provides background on different terms related to migration, and complete a viewing guide. 
  • Students will watch a short video of how children are coping with violence and displacement in the Ukraine but using art to channel the trauma of their experience.
  • Students will choose a region/story and create an illustration based on what they read about the individual's story.

Day 2 Lesson Objective(s) or Essential Question(s)

  • Students will choose a region of the world where a conflict has driven someone to migrate to a new country. 
  • Students will read the account of the individual's experience of migration. 
  • Students will complete an empathy map where they can connect more directly with the individual and put themselves in the position of the individual who is going through the experience.

Day 3, 4, and 5 Lesson Objective(s) or Essential Question(s)

  • Students will connect with a school librarian to see examples of different memoirs and stories of migration, including the styles of artwork and design that are used in book covers.
  • Students will design their own book cover for their chosen story of migration.

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Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees