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Mapping Movement through Laws and Community

This assignment asks students to design a map that charts the migration of peoples in and out of their community. Maps are important visual representations that can help highlight a region’s community and culture. Scholars use maps in order to illustrate the narrative of a particular region. For example, historians can construct various maps using data from the US Census. Each map shows the distribution of Native Americans throughout the United States during different time periods. This information can then be used to detail the type of relationship that the United States held with Native American tribes, and how the relationship affected land distribution among all the nations involved. Therefore this lesson plan will engage students with the ideas of how legislations, along with local and global events, shape the formation of communities.

Moreover, this lesson introduces students to the concept of migration. Many factors influence why and how people migrate. Important factors can include employment opportunities, physical environment, perceptions of region, health issues, education, and threats to individual safety. These factors can be classified as economic, social, political, and environmental. These same factors can also be categorized as “push” and “pull” factors. A “push” factor can drive a person away from their native location while a “pull” factor can draw a person to a new location. Therefore, these migration maps will help students initiate an investigation about how local, state, national, and global events played a role in the formation of their communities.

Finally, students will track their personal family migration histories. This exercise asks students to use social history, the experience of every day people, to connect their community to their own family migration histories. Using Howard Zinn’s model of social history, students will examine their families’ migration histories and link these histories to that of their communities. Social history is the study of the past “from the bottom up” with a focus on everyday events and the experience of every day periods. Social history emerged in the late 1950s from the French Annales School and was redefined in the United States as a result of the different civil rights movements that occurred throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In the early 1970s social history focused on labor, unionization movements, and allowed for a growing body of histories that used race and ethnicity, as well as gender, sexuality and family as ways of exploring the past.


Indian Reservation
Political Asylum
Pull Factor
Push Factor

You will need:
Lesson plan length: 3 - 6 weeks
Regional Map.
Blank world map (provided by
History textbook.
World Almanac.
Information on local history to supplement textbooks.
US Census results for the region throughout the 20th century.
Access to a local library or online sources.
Presentation tools depending upon class capabilities. low tech: poster board, glue, scissors for each group to map out for display in classroom. high tech: computer assisted PowerPoint presentations to post on the classroom website.

Initially, instructors play a directive role in going over the reading, glossary terms and local history information. Also, this assignment and exercise could work well with a trip to a school or local library. Instructors should evaluate the enclosed resources and determine the relevancy of the samples to their students. Instructors should consider integrating a local history and sources if they are available.

Lesson Hypothesis:
In the recent past, scholars have promoted the idea of a “Living Past” in order to show how history may inform the present. Most communities have different groups of people living within a number of spaces for different reasons. Creating a migration map teaches residents new appreciation for where they live and how the space’s history may have broader consequences than originally assumed.

goals & objectives

In completing this lesson, successful students will:

• Define and understand the glossary terms included.
• Investigate the evolution of modern international military and economic diplomacy.
• Study the trajectory of America’s role as a decision maker in worldwide affairs.
• Observe the increased interconnectedness between modern cultures as a result of the globalization fostered by technology.
• Compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons that were learned.
• Analyze how change happens at different rates at different times; understand that some aspects can change while others remain the same; and understand that change is complicated and affects not only technology and politics but also values and beliefs.
• Use a variety of maps and documents to interpret human movement, including major patterns of domestic and international migration, changing environmental preferences and settlement patterns, the frictions that develop between population groups, and the diffusion of ideas, technological innovations, and goods.
• Relate current events to the physical and human characteristics of places and regions.
• Distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations.
• Identify bias and prejudice in historical interpretations.
• Evaluate major debates among historians concerning alternative interpretations of the past, including an analysis of authors’ use of evidence and the distinctions between sound generalizations and misleading oversimplifications.
• Construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate, and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations.
• Show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments.
• Recognize the complexity of historical causes and effects, including the limitations on determining cause and effect. • Interpret past events and issues within the context in which an event unfolded rather than solely in terms of present-day norms and values.
• Understand the meaning, implication, and impact of historical events and recognize that events could have taken other directions.
• Analyze human modifications of landscapes and examine the resulting environmental policy issues.
• Conduct cost-benefit analyses and apply basic economic indicators to analyze the aggregate economic behavior of the U.S. economy.
• List and detail migrations that become entries in the “Community Worksheet” and “Family History Worksheet.”
• Define each entry using the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why).
• Determine the importance of each entry in relation to the development of their community.
• Map migrations using group consensus.
• Create maps that reflect the determined classifications on either poster board or in digital format.
• Share the maps.

the lesson

Exercise 1
Part A: Instructors should go over the glossary terms and discuss social history and the concepts of community and migration with the class. History at its most basic is the study of change over time and the formal analysis of this change. Make three lists with the class on the classroom board.

The first list should explore the various ways communities can form. The list should at least include the following concepts: race, ethnicity, labor, gender, class, regional connections, language, religion, sexuality, transportation, politics and political asylum.

The second list should include pull and push factors people may face when deciding whether to move or to stay in one location. For instance, many Vietnamese families might have settled in Orange County after the Vietnam War trying to escape persecution, while Vietnamese and Cambodians who are ethnic Chinese would prefer to settle in New Chinatown in order to have the freedom of speaking Cantonese. As a class, explore the connections these two lists have.

Then create the last list which should explore the media representations of the community. This list should include the perceptions of what the space may be. For instance, after the hit television show "The O.C"., Orange County was called the “O.C.” by many and was perceived as a high-class community, even though the show was based on small group of people in Newport Beach, California. Through this example, students can explore how the media representations of the community affect the realities, myths, and history of the space.

Part B. Give each student a “Communities Worksheet.” Then discuss with your students the issues that could arise from the U.S. Census, particularly issues of race. For instance, before 1970, U.S. Census used different forms of analysis when viewing race. People were basically classified as white or Negro/non-white. In the 1970 U.S. Census, the Census Bureau added the category of other, and in 1980 they finally added more options. Therefore, students should be very careful and not take the documents at face value. Moreover, the census information should be accompanied by a world almanac for the particular years in question. For instance, if working with the 1970 Census, also have a world almanac available for your students. Show students how you would like them to input the required information and have them fill out their worksheet as best as possible. This part of the exercise could be an excellent opportunity to visit a local librarian, as they are incredible sources and most likely well-versed in local history.

Part C. Instructors divide students into groups of 2-3 and have them review past information from the class and history textbook in order to gather entries from local history. In addition to obtaining information from the Archive, instructors should provide as many sources from the library or that the Instructor provides, such as the immigrant legislation timeline or various almanacs.

Part D. Instructors give students a fresh new “Communities Worksheet” for revision to include the newly gathered information. Students should define each entry using the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Why & Where). Therefore, in the end, the worksheet should include both the various migrant groups that entered and exited their communities, and the push and pull factors that formulated into people’s movements.

Exercise 2: Make the Connections
Part A. Students should sketch a draft of their map. In making this draft, students should consider how the information should appear on the map. What symbols will students use to represent a particular ethnic/racial group, or region? What will they use to demonstrate the movement of people from one region to another? Students should include a key interpreting the map.

Part B. After completing the draft, Instructor should have each student in the group sign off on the final design. Using the “Communities Worksheet” and gathered information, students should create their maps tracing the movement of communities from the world map to the regional map. The maps should be created using the class materials available, be it poster boards or computer programs. Instructor should remind students to include their map key.

Part C. Instructors should share students’ completed maps by displaying them around the classroom or on the class website. Then, as a class, students should discuss what similarities and differences between the maps. Why did various groups move to this particular site? Were there any correlations between where people settled and where they were from (i.e., connections between people from the same regions, politics, and/or religion)? How have these migrant communities affected the culture of the students’ neighborhood?

Exercise 3: My Family 50 Years Ago
Part A. Students should consult a family member to answer the questions on the "Family History Worksheet." This should be completed outside the classroom. Students should use the information outlined by the Family History Worksheet to understand the causes behind their families’ personal migration paths.

Part B. Students should use their Family History Worksheet to create their individual family-migration maps. Their Family History Worksheet should serve as a justification that explains the movement of their family from the world map to the regional map. Encourage students to critically examine historical world events and consider how they might have influenced their families’ individual migration paths. For example, Armenian families might have immigrated to the United States to escape the Armenian genocide during World War I, and they might have relied on ethnic networks in deciding to settle in Los Angeles. Other students’ families may have moved to Los Angeles to escape Civil War in their home countries, such as El Salvador. The maps should be created on class materials available, be it poster boards or computer programs. In making this draft, students should consider how the information should appear on the map. What symbols will students use to represent a particular ethnic/racial group, or region? What will they use to demonstrate the movement of people from one region to another? Students should include a key interpreting the map.

Part C. Instructors should share students’ completed maps with the class either through oral presentation or by displaying them around the classroom. Then, as a class, students should discuss similarities and differences among individual family migration stories. Students should also discuss the impetus behind their family migration stories in order to justify their family migration map.

case studies