Lesson Plans

Who Am I?

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

This lesson aligns with Common Core State Standards for Grade 4 English Language Arts.

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2: Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7: Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8: Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1.a: Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer's purpose.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1.b: Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1.d: Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2.a: Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2.b: Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2.e: Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3.a: Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3.b: Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3.c: Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3.d: Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3.e: Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 4 here.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.


  1. Geography (Continents, Longitude, Latitude, Map Skills)
    1. Identify all of the continents on a world map.
    2. Define longitude and latitude and their uses for travelers like Paul Salopek.
    3. Map Paul’s journey on a world map.
  2. Research
    1. Identify through research two other explorers who followed a specific path and learned about original settlers.
  3. The beginning of human beings
    1. Compare the accounts of the explorers you identified from research with Paul Salopek’s journey and goals.
    2. Identify two different theories about how human beings came into existence.
    3. Explain how the two theories of human origins differ.
  4. Migration of human beings throughout history (Causes of human beings changing locations, Effects of human beings changing locations)
    1. List and explain the reasons that human beings leave their homes in large masses and move to a different country or area.
    2. Identify and explain the effects that a large number of human beings moving from one country or area to another has on the area they left.
    3. Identify and explain the effects that a large number of human beings moving from one country or area to another has on the new area in which they settle.
    4. Identify a migration in the world that is happening now and give at least two reasons for the migration.
  5. Religion
    1. Explain how religion can be a reason for the migration of human beings.
  6. Environmental Changes (Causes, Effects, Natural Resources, Growth of cities)
    1. List and explain the causes of environmental change and its effect on human migration.
    2. List and explain the effects of environmental changes on human migration.
    3. Explain how natural resources have influenced human migration.
    4. Give reasons as to how the growth of cities has affected environmental changes and human migration.
  7. Politics and its relationship to human migration (Causes, Effects)
    1. List and explain at least one historical example of politics causing mass human migration.

Key Terms:

  • Pilgrimage
  • Migration
  • Extinction
  • Urbanization
  • Natural Science
  • Wiki
  • Glogs
  • Hyperlinks
  • Mutations
  • Longitude
  • Latitude
  • Open-ended questions
  • Reflections
  • Facts
  • Opinions

Learning Plan and Activities:

  1. Conduct group discussions in which you discuss possible obstacles that Paul Salopek might face on his trip and some things that he might learn about human mass movements throughout history. Use a collaborative tool such as Etherpad to collect thoughts and opinions from the entire group. Share this information in the form of charts and graphs with the class orally or on a class wiki.

  2. Use a site such as Glogster to create multimedia posters online outlining the path Paul Salopek is walking, adding text, audio and pictures to explain the problems or issues that he might encounter along the way. Students link individual glogs to others who share a connection or have a deeper explanation of a particular topic/issue.

  3. 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.

  4. Create a collaborative, annotated digital map at Google Maps. This could be created among students of your class or collaborating with another class following Paul Salopek’s journey. 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.

  5. As the Walk out of Eden progresses, students create a visual dictionary of vocabulary words they are studying, 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.

  6. Students collaboratively work on a Wiki Spaces as a central hub for storing their research connected to the Out of Eden walk. The collaboration could be among classmates or by partnering with a class from another school and possibly from another country. Other media products created during the Out of Eden project will be embedded and shared on the wiki, linking it to students’ research.

  7. The class will use Skype (video conference tool) to connect with other classrooms, experts or people living in the countries Paul Salopek is traveling through. The teacher can use personal connections or sites like Skype in the Classroom or Around the World with 80 Schools to find Skype partners with whom they can connect their class. Students prepare a short presentation to explain their understanding of the Out of Eden project to the other classroom, expert, or people living in the countries on Salopek’s route. In addition, the students will create open-ended questions to ask of connection partners. The questions should be created to learn different perspectives and opinions on Salopek’s proposed journey. Students will then write a reflection piece that compares their understanding and learning from the Out of Eden project to those of their connection partners. In the reflection, students should include any different perspectives on the project and an explanation of how multiple perspectives can improve their understanding and learning. Answers to the questions asked and data from the connection partners answers to the questions and responses about the connection partners understanding of the purpose of the Out of Eden project should be included in the reflection. Teacher and/or teacher-student collaborative rubrics should be created for evaluation of the reflection.

  8. Students prepare a podcast news show to “inform the world” of the Out of Eden project. Starting by brainstorming their “news show” story, the class divides into groups and assigns roles to each group member, such as (anchors/advertisers/music jingles creators, foreign correspondents, etc.) to write and storyboard the news show script. Using Garageband (mac/iPad) or Audacity (PC), students record audio and upload the file to a class website, blog, wiki or other Internet hub in order to share, solicit feedback, and link to other resources related to the Out of Eden project.

  9. Students become published authors by creating a narrative collaborative Story(e)book designed for younger children. Taking a story from Paul Salopek’s journey or answering one of the essential questions of this unit (ex. In what ways can migration improve the lives of human beings?), students write a simple script and illustrate their story. Students use a Word processing program like Microsoft Word (PC) or Pages (mac) or any of the book creator apps on the iPad, such as Book Creator or Scribble Press to design their book. If necessary, especially with Microsoft Word, export story into an eBook format with an ePub converter. Class disseminates eBook for younger students to read and learn about Paul Salopek’s journey or human migration. Students should keep their audience of younger students in mind and adjust their vocabulary and word usage to fit that younger audience. Teacher produced or collaboratively (student and teacher) produced rubric should be created to provide guidance of what quality of the e-book should look like.


  1. Collection of group discussion data on human migration and development. Charts and graphs created with the data.
  2. Multimedia posters that indicate the path of the walk “Out of Eden” to show students’ skills in media literacy and the connection between content and media.
  3. Written or digital opinion essay as to why massive migration of human beings has occurred at sometime during the history of the world and/or currently.
  4. Google Map of Salopek’s route with placemarks and events summaries. This map will give the teachers insight into the students’ understanding of relationships between geographic location and global issues, historic and modern events, or Paul Salopek’s experiences and current news.
  5. Visual dictionary entries and appropriateness of the entries as they relate to Salopek’s walk.
  6. Summaries and artifacts of the research that students have conducted in relationship to the Out of Eden walk, which will show breadth and depth of the information that they researched and learned.
  7. Oral presentation explaining the students’ understanding of the Out of Eden project, what can be learned from the project, and the connection that this project has with the curriculum that they are studying this year.
  8. List of the open-ended questions that will be asked of the connection partners.
  9. Written or digital reflection on different perspectives/understanding of the Out of Eden project.
  10. Quality of content, creativity and delivery of presentation of the news show story for the group grade.
  11. Individual final product created by each student in performing the role assigned to them, such as, the musical jingles for the show, the ads created for the show, scripts created for the anchors, etc.
  12. Final e-book that is published.


Educator Notes: 

This unit has been designed for grade 3-5. 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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