Activity 1: The Lost Boys of Sudan

Photo: Man waves goodbye to friends and family in Sudan.

Students learn where the Lost Boys are from and how they got their name. Then they watch an excerpt from the film, God Grew Tired of Us, and write about it.

Activity 2: Mapping the Migration of the Lost Boys

Students map the migration journey of the Lost Boys and Girls. They discuss the concept of a diaspora and the challenges of displacement.

Activity 3: Cultural Identity of the Lost Boys

Students watch excerpts from the film God Grew Tired of Us. They discuss the challenges the Lost Boys faced while adapting to life in the United States and trying to maintain their cultural identities.


Subjects & Disciplines


Students will:

  • define vocabulary terms
  • explain who the Lost Boys of Sudan are and how they got that name
  • locate northern Sudan, southern Sudan, and the Dinka homeland on a world map
  • describe the experiences of the Lost Boys in Sudan and after they fled Sudan
  • map the routes the Lost Boys took on their migration journey from Sudan to the United States
  • map the routes the Lost Boys took within the United States
  • define the vocabulary term diaspora
  • describe the challenges of displaced peoples
  • describe American culture in their own words
  • answer questions about the Lost Boys and cultural identity after watching videos
  • make media-to-self connections

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Discussions
  • Hands-on learning
  • Visual instruction
  • Writing

National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information
  • Standard 10: The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics
  • Standard 13: How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface
  • Standard 9: The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface


What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Colored pencils
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Wall map of the world

Background & Vocabulary

Background Information

The Lost Boys of Sudan are a group of Dinka youth who fled civil war in their native country, spent a decade growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp, and were eventually resettled in the United States. The Dinka are the largest ethnic group in southern Sudan. In the United States, the Lost Boys faced many challenges while adapting to their new lives and trying to maintain their cultural identities as Dinka.


Prior Knowledge

    Recommended Prior Lessons

    • None


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry


    the process of adopting the traits of a cultural group.


    process by which people acquire the culture and habits of the dominant group.

    civil war

    conflict between groups in the same country or nation.

    cultural identity

    the way a person views themselves in relation to the learned characteristics and behaviors of a group or community.

    cultural landscape

    human imprint on the physical environment.

    cultural marker

    unique characteristic of a community.


    learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.


    community of people scattered from their homeland.


    to remove or force to evacuate.


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

    human migration

    the movement of people from one place to another.


    person who moves to a new country or region.


    person who flees their home, usually due to natural disaster or political upheaval.


    transportation of people to a new residential area, usually following a natural or man-made disaster.

    For Further Exploration


    Media Credits

    The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

    Activity 1 Credits


    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society

    Educator Reviewer

    Jeanne Wallace-Weaver, Educational Consultant

    Activity 2 Credits


    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society

    Educator Reviewer

    Jeanne Wallace-Weaver, Educational Consultant

    Activity 3 Credits


    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society

    Educator Reviewer

    Jeanne Wallace-Weaver, Educational Consultant

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