Lesson Plans

Migration and Refugees Lesson Plans

According to the 2015 International Migration Report from the United Nations, “The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly over the past fifteen years reaching 244 million in 2015, up from 222 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000.” Forced migration patterns, and the many factors that cause them, are at the heart of many of the world’s 21st century challenges. The following lesson plans present entry points to a diversity of stories reflecting the human impact of migration.


Some lessons were written by members of our education team, and others were written and shared by our community of educators. This page will be updated regularly to feature new lessons exploring issues facing the environment, so please check back.


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Afghanistan by Choice

Students analyze how filmmaker Alexandria Bombach structures her film “Afghanistan by Choice” in order to balance differing opinions about whether or not the subjects should leave Afghanistan.


Community Support for Syrian Refugees
Students analyze the structure of an article describing how a community in Canada collaborated to support a Syrian family as they transitioned to living in Canada. For additional resources to use in teaching the history of the conflict in Syria, check out this resource from the education team at PBS Newshour.


The Journey North: Exploring Reasons Behind Migration to the U.S.

Using evidence from multiple texts in multiple formats, students will be able to address the question “How do you think the United States should respond to migrants fleeing systemic violence and poverty in their home countries?”


Libya After Liberation

Students debate what policy Italy should implement when dealing with the migrants from Libya after their role in overthrowing Gaddafi.


The Nanny’s Child

This lesson guides students through closely observing photographs and making inferences about the images’ meanings. Students explore a photo story and radio piece about the experience of a woman from Paraguay who is reunited with her son.


Native Communities in the Amazon: Presenting Contradicting Arguments

Students identify how contrasting arguments are developed and presented in articles covering native Amazonian populations in Peru. They also reflect on a country's responsibility to its native communities and use the articles to identify potential solutions for conflicts between Peru's government and its native communities.


Refugees and the Island of Lesbos

Students analyze several articles about the Greek island of Lesbos, which has taken in thousands of refugees despite its small population. The island has been a focal landing point for migrants and refugees to land as they attempt to continue their journeys into the EU.


Refugees: Children of No Nation [Enrichment Activities]

Educators can select from five different activities that explore local refugee and immigrant communities. This lesson can be used in conjunction with the "Seeking Asylum: Women and Children Migrating Across Borders" lesson.


Reporting on Refugee Camps in Europe

Students analyze how a journalist reporting on a refugee camp outside of Greece uses language to achieve different tones in order to create social media campaigns representing the experiences of refugees awaiting asylum in Europe


Seeking Asylum: Women and Children Migrating Across Borders

Students explore the boundaries between refugees and migrants and how related policies impact women and children who are trying to relocate to a new country.


Syrian Refugee Crisis Project

This collaborative project asks students to provide recommendations for the number of refugees that the United States should accept.  


Should the Beijing City Government Shut Down the Underground Residences of the Rat Tribe?
Students identify the push and pull factors confronting Chinese migrant workers, analyze their living conditions in Beijing, including underground residencies which were formally bomb shelters, and debate whether or not city officials should close the controversial underground housing.


Why They Flee: Understanding the Migration of Minors

Students investigate multiple perspectives on child migration and ultimately propose solutions to their state senators.


Educator Notes: 

The following lessons are connected to reporting from Pulitzer Center grantees exploring migration and the lives of refugees throughout the world. To adapt a lesson plan, click "Use Lesson" and then "Modify." An editable version of the lesson plan will then be saved to your account on the Lesson Builder. If you'd like support adapting a lesson, and/or would like to connect a Pulitzer Center journalist with your class over Skype, email us at education@pulitzercenter.org

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