• 1. Discuss the map of human migration around the world.
    Project or distribute copies of the map Patterns of Human Migration and have students look at the current patterns of migration across the globe. Tell students that the thickness of the arrows indicates amounts of people migrating: thicker arrows indicate major migration streams and thinner arrows indicate minor migration streams. Emphasize to students that the arrows reflect current migration patterns and not composition of populations. Ask:

    • From which continent(s) are the most people emigrating? (from Asia)
    • To which continent(s) are the most people immigrating? (to North America)
    • What is one pattern of migration within North America? (Mexico to the United States)
    • Why do you think these patterns are happening? (push and pull factors)

    Remind students of some common push factors and pull factors, such as better job opportunities (pull) or war (push).

    2. Have small groups explore the data behind the map.
    Divide students into small groups. Distribute copies of the handout Migration Data Table and the worksheet Global Patterns of Human Migration to each small group. Have small groups use the Migration Data Table to complete Part 1 of the worksheet. Provide support, as needed.

    3. Have small groups create their own map of targeted human migration patterns.

    Distribute copies of the World 1-Page Map to each group and have students complete Part 2 of the worksheet. Provide support, as needed. Make sure students include a map key.

    4. Discuss students’ predictions about future global migration patterns.
    Have a whole-class discussion. Use the provided Answer Key to discuss students’ answers to the questions on the worksheet.

    Informal Assessment

    Ask students to describe how the map of human migration around the world displays information about migration streams.

    Extending the Learning

    Have students explore migration relationships for countries other than the United States, and report to the class on their findings. Visit the provided World Bank website to download the full migration data set. The downloadable file, called the Bilaterial Migration Matrix 2010, can be opened in Microsoft Excel.

  • Subjects & Disciplines

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    • describe current patterns of migration across the globe
    • create their own map of human migration patterns
    • predict future patterns

    Teaching Approach

    • Learning-for-use

    Teaching Methods

    • Discussions
    • Hands-on learning
    • Information organization

    Skills Summary

    This activity targets the following skills:

    Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

    National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

    • Theme 3:  People, Places, and Environments

    National Geography Standards

    • Standard 9:  The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface
  • What You’ll Need

    Materials You Provide

    • Pencils
    • Pens

    Required Technology

    • Internet Access: Required
    • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector

    Physical Space

    • Classroom


    • Large-group instruction
    • Small-group instruction
  • Background Information

    Human migration is the movement of people from one place in the world to another. Human patterns of movement reflect the conditions of a changing world and impact the cultural landscapes of both the places people leave and the places they settle.

    Prior Knowledge

    • push and pull factors


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    census Noun

    program of a nation, state, or other region that counts the population and usually gives its characteristics, such as age and gender.

    Encyclopedic Entry: census
    continent Noun

    one of the seven main land masses on Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: continent
    emigrant Noun

    person who moves from their existing country or region to a new country or region.

    emigrate Verb

    to move from one's native land to another.

    human migration Noun

    the movement of people from one place to another.

    immigrant Noun

    person who moves to a new country or region.

    immigrate Verb

    to move to a new place.

    immigration Noun

    process of moving to a new country or region with the intention of staying and living there.

    migration stream Noun

    flow of immigrants from a specific place, economic status, or skill set.

    population Noun

    total number of people or organisms in a particular area.

    pull factor Noun

    force that draws people to immigrate to a place.

    push factor Noun

    force that drives people away from a place.

    For Further Exploration