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TIME ALLOTMENT: Two class periods

The movement of people and goods is an important part of the New York State Global History and Geography Curriculum. It is listed as one of the themes that are emphasized in the core curriculum. Students are expected to understand why people migrate and what the impact of migrations has been on people, nations, and regions. Recently, the PBS WIDE ANGLE documentary series created two programs that relate to the movement of people. "Border Jumpers" (2005) documents migration between countries in Africa, and "To Have and Have Not" (2002) deals with migration from rural to urban areas in China. By studying these two migrations, students can deepen their understanding of events and trends in Africa and China since World War II. A study of these two migrations can also provide students with a framework for reviewing other migrations included in the core curriculum and help students to prepare for possible thematic essays on the Regents exam.

The purpose of this lesson is to show the reasons why people are migrating in Africa and China today and how these migrations are impacting those regions. In addition, students will be motivated to critically analyze national immigration policies and to consider the relevance of national borders in a world that is experiencing rapid globalization. As a culminating activity, students will outline a response for a sample Regents thematic essay question and will be assigned to write the essay for homework.

SUBJECT MATTER: Global History and Geography/World History


Students will be able to:
  • Describe how push and pull factors relate to migrations;

  • Identify and describe specific push/pull factors related to the migration of people from Zimbabwe to Botswana and from rural to urban China;

  • Analyze the effectiveness of national immigration policies and restrictions;

  • Compare and contrast modern and historical migrations;

  • Plan and write a thematic essay as they prepare for the Regents exam.


New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies
Standards available online at http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/pub/sslearn.pdf.

    Standard 2. World History (commencement)
    Performance Indicators:

      1. Students:

      • Understand the broad patterns, relationships, and interactions of cultures and civilizations during particular eras and across eras.

      4. Students:

      • Identify historical problems, pose analytical questions or hypotheses, research analytical questions or test hypotheses, formulate conclusions or generalizations, raise new questions or issues for further investigation.

      • Interpret and analyze documents and artifacts related to significant developments and events in world history.

      • Plan and organize historical research projects related to regional or global interdependence.

    Standard 3. Geography (commencement)
    Performance Indicators:

      1. Students:

      • Understand how to develop and use maps and other graphic representations to display geographic issues, problems, and questions.

      • Investigate the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on the Earth's surface.

      • Understand the development and interactions of social/cultural, political, economic, and religious systems in different regions of the world.

      • Analyze how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of the Earth's surface.

New York State Regents Global History and Geography Curriculum Tie-Ins
Curriculum available online at http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/pub/sscore2.pdf

    Unit Eight: Global Connections and Interactions

      A. Social and Political Patterns and Change

        3. Migration

          a. Urbanization

          b. Global migration

        6. Urbanization -- use and distribution of scarce resources

      B. Economic Issues

        1. North/South dichotomy: issues of development (post-colonialism)

          a. Africa

Advanced Placement World History Curriculum Tie-Ins
Course Description available online at:
(Requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader)

    Major Developments:

      3. Demographic and environmental changes (migrations; end of the Atlantic slave trade)

    Major Developments:

      8. Demographic and environmental changes (migrations; changes in birthrates and death rates; new forms of urbanization; deforestation; green/environmental movements)

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WIDE ANGLE, "To Have and to Have Not" (2002) and "Border Jumpers" (2005) (selected clips)

Botswana Today
Photo of people on a bus.
Photo of a guard tower in a detention center.
Work Abroad
Photo of Mary, an educated Zimbabwean migrant, washing a floor.
Farm and City
Photo of Chinese farmers.
Migrant Workers
Photo of a Chinese migrant construction worker.

Web Sites:


For the class:

  • Computer monitor or computer connection to television/projector for clip viewing

  • Overhead projector

  • Vocabulary Answer Key

  • Transparencies of Student Organizers, Vocabulary Answer Key, and Maps (optional)
For each cooperative group of students:

For each student or pair of students:

For each student:


Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:

Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, or upload all links to an online bookmarking utility such as www.portaportal.com.

Preview all of the video clips and Web sites used in the lesson to make certain that they are appropriate for your students, currently available, and accessible from your classroom.

Download the video clips used in this lesson onto your hard drive, or prepare to stream the clips from your classroom. RealPlayer is needed to view the video clips. If your classroom computer does not have it, download RealPlayer for free at www.real.com.

Copy the student organizers for individual and group use.

When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.

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