Lesson Plans

The Impact of Ancestors’ Movements on Current Descendants

This curriculum was created by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and her Curriculum 21 faculty.

This lesson aligns with Common Core State Standards for Grade 9-12 Informational Text and Writing.


Common Core Standards:


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5: Analyze in detail how an author's ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6: Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8: 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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1: Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1.a: Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among the claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1.b: Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form and in a manner that anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1.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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.9-10.1.e: Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3.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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3.b: Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3.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).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3.d: Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3.e: Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5: 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. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 here.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.8: 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.


  1. Geography (Geographical variations, 23rd Parallel, Path of the walk Out of Eden)
    1. Relate geographical variations to the historical migrations of humans.
    2. Analyze the significance of the 23rd Parallel to human origins and migration.
    3. Compare and contrast the paths of historical wanderers/walkers with the path that Salopek is taking to track the migration and development of humans.
  2. Research (Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Validity of Sources, Quality of Sources)
    1. Explain the difference and applicability of primary and secondary sources.
    2. Explain the arguments listed in primary and secondary sources of information about historical migrations of humans.
    3. Evaluate arguments in primary and secondary sources and identify inconclusive evidence.
  3. Common Human Origins
    1. Identify and compare varying accounts of human origins.
    2. Analyze a multitude of accounts of human origins.
  4. Human Migration and Development (Causes, Effects, Connections to Current Migration and Development of Humans, Political Unrest)
    1. Assess the effects of human migrations on human development.
    2. Compare and contrast current human migrations with historical migrations and predict the effect on future human development.
    3. Assess the effect that political unrest and boundaries have had on historical human migrations.
  5. Religion
    1. Analyze the relationship between religion and human migration and development.
  6. Environmental Changes (Causes, Effects, Natural Resources, Urbanization, Connections to Current Environmental Changes)
    1. Delineate the causes of environmental change and provide evidence of the impact that environment change has had on massive human migrations.
    2. Provide evidence to document the effects of environmental changes on human development.
    3. Analyze the way in which natural resources have influenced environmental changes and caused massive human migrations.
    4. Assess and explain how urbanization has influenced environmental changes and caused massive human migrations.
    5. Provide evidence to support and explain how the causes of historical climate changes and migrations are related to the current climate changes.
    6. Predict what migrations might occur today because of the current climate changes.
  7. Political Influences on Human Migration and Development (Causes, Effects, Outcomes)
    1. Explain and support claims on how political unrest affects human migration and development.
    2. Explain the possible effects of current migrations on political systems.
    3. Predict the outcomes of current specific migrations of humans.

Key Terms:

  • Pilgrimage
  • Migration
  • Herodotus
  • Mutations
  • Nomads
  • 23rd Parallel
  • Extinction
  • Urbanization
  • Natural Science
  • Genography
  • Paleolithic

Learning Plan and Activities:

  1. 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 Etherpad 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Use a site such as Glogster.com 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.

  4. 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.”

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.).

  15. 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.

  16. 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 .

  17. 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.

  18. 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.


  1. Results of discussion group opinions and conclusions through pictures, music, video, graphs, or other digital formats incorporated into one presentation.
  2. Charts, graphs, and data created on World Mapper or another such website to indicate migration of the earth’s people in modern times.
  3. Summary and analysis of data collected on migration trends and conclusions shared on a class wiki.
  4. 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.
  5. Infographic demonstrating understanding and correlation between charts, graphs and data generated and collected in previous assessments or activities
  6. Analysis of discussions on the blogs and explanation of possible solutions to the problem of massive migration of humans.
  7. Debate and evaluation of arguments on both sides of the statement.
  8. Rubric created by students and teacher to evaluate the debate presentation.
  9. Backchannel log as a review and assessment tool to check for student understanding and further questions.
  10. Recorded Skype conversation or debate for presentation and communication skills as well as understanding of content.
  11. VoiceThread conversation as evidence of background knowledge and ability to articulate a particular side of the issue.
  12. 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.
  13. Video of the Skype sessions and/or actual twitter entries of discussions, the content discussed, and the connections to current curriculum.
  14. List of the annotated bookmarks collected, tagged and categorized, related to Out of Eden.
  15. The actual blog posts with the current news and global issues related to Paul’s walk.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Visual dictionary
  19. 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.
  20. Each student’s individual events and portions of the interactive story.



Educator Notes: 

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

This curriculum was created by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and her Curriculum 21 faculty.

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