Browse By Migrations Geography Timeline Source Materials Education Materials Search
Colonization and Emigration
Where Do We Go From Here? The Decision to Emigrate Lesson Plan
This activity has teams of students analyzing destinations of émigrés. Using the narrative Colonization and Emigration, the teams will put together a proposal explaining the pros and cons of their destination for free people leaving the United States. Students will assume the roles of freed people who, as a group, are determining if they should emigrate from the United States. They will prepare a proposal with at least one visual aid and a map to provide non-biased information to the group so the group of recently freed people can make the best decision regarding emigration. After completing the presentations, students will discuss the pros and cons of each destination and of remaining in the United States. The discussion will culminate with students voting on which location the group will emigrate to OR whether the group should remain in the United States.
Grade Levels:High school, grades 11-12
For use with:Colonization and Emigration
Concentration Area:History: U.S. Government
National Curriculum Standards met by this lesson
The standards for this lesson conform to those set by the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel).
Students will understand

  • Understand the following:

  • How to analyze chronological relationships and patterns.
  • The historical perspective.
  • Historical continuity and change related to a particular development or theme.
  • The fact that the consequences of human intentions are influenced by the means of carrying them out.
  • How the past affects our private lives and society in general.
  • Know how to identify the temporal structure and connections disclosed in historical narratives.
  • Analyze the values held by specific people who influenced history and the role their values played in influencing history.
Time required

  • Homework (prior to class): assigned reading for destination.
  • One 90-minute block broken out as follows:

  • 10 minutes for the anticipatory set;
  • 30 minutes to prepare proposals;
  • 25 minutes for the presentations of the proposals;
  • 20 minutes for class debate and selection of the destination; and
  • Remaining time for wrap-up discussion.
  • Materials needed
    • Narrative, Colonization and Emigration:
    • "Overview" and "The Reasons for Emigration and Colonization" (one per student)
    • Six copies of each of the following three sections from the narrative (based on six people per group): (1) "The Colonization of Sierra Leone;" (2) "The Colonization of Liberia;" (3) "Migration to Haiti"
    • Eighteen copies of "Migration to Other Lands" (six copies for each: Canada, Mexico, and Trinidad)
    • Pros and Cons (one per student)
    • Proposal Checklist (one per group)
    • Immigration Destination Evaluation (one per student)
    • Group Discussion Guide (one for the leader)
    • Ballots (one per student)
    • Proposal Scoring Guide
    • Discussion Scoring Guide
    • Poster board and markers (one set per group)
    Anticipatory Set

    1. Pre-writing activity:

      1. Assign the following scenario:

        1. "If you were a recently-freed person, identify three reasons you would want to stay in the United States. Also, in the same role as freed person, identify three reasons for emigrating from the United States."
      2. Discuss and list responses on the board.

    1. Homework (assign the class preceding the activity):

      1. Assign the homework based on the location each student will be presenting to the group.
      2. Distribute appropriate reading based on their group (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Haiti, Trinidad, Canada, and Mexico).
      3. Hand out copies, one per student, of the Pros and Cons sheet. Instruct students to write down the pros and cons of a freed person in 1870 immigrating to their assigned country. The pros and cons may be from the article, and the student may list more based on his/her assumptions from the overview. Also, tell students to list the reasons for emigrating from the United States.
    2. In Class:

      1. Discuss the "Anticipatory Set" and record the students' opinions on the board.
      2. Set up the following scenario for students:

        "You are a group of freed people who are deciding whether you will remain in the United States or emigrate from the United States to another country. In your group, you will make a proposal explaining the pros and cons of immigration to your assigned destination. Important: you are not trying to convince the group to go to your destination. You are informing the group about the destination so the group can determine, as freed people, the best course of action."
      3. Group Work:

        1. Have students discuss the information on their Pros and Cons assignment and create a visual presenting the information.
        2. Tell students to locate their destination on a map and look up geographical information to incorporate into their presentation. Make sure students also look up climate (similar or different to their current climate), natural resources, crops, etc. They should add this information to the visual aid for the presentation.
        3. Divide the roles for the presentation making sure everyone participates.
      4. Presentations:

        1. Give each group five minutes to present its information to the class.
        2. Instruct the other students to complete the Immigration Destination Evaluation as each group is presenting.
      5. Group Discussion:

        1. Select a student to be the leader of the group. Tell the leader that he or she will facilitate the discussion and call for the vote. (Use the Group Discussion Guide to assist the leader in facilitating the discussion.)
        2. Have the students place their desks in a circle for a more conducive discussion.
        3. Then, turn the discussion over to the group leader.
        4. With six minutes remaining in the class OR if there are no more ideas in the discussion, remind the leader to call for the vote.
      6. Vote:

        1. Distribute the Ballots.Explain that students will circle the destination of their choice and complete the bottom portion of the ballot, which asks students to explain their choices.
        2. Allow students the remaining class time to vote and explain their choices.
        3. Announce the destination at the beginning of the following class period.
      7. Have students discuss their projects as a class, being sure to address the following questions:

        1. What did you find most challenging about the assignment?
        2. Why do you think relatively few freed people decided to emigrate?
        3. If you were in those circumstances, would you stay or go? Why?

    Assess students' work as listed below:

    1. Individual Pros and Cons (Refer to Pros and Cons)
    2. Proposal (Refer to the Proposal Scoring Guide)
    3. Discussion (Refer to the Discussion Scoring Guide)
    4. Vote (Refer to the Ballot)

    Group Discussion Guide

    1. Have the group form a circle to promote a conversation.
    2. As the leader, you are trying to get the members to share their ideas NOT to tell them your ideas.
    3. Lead the discussion following the guidelines below:

      1. Ask team members: Who has a destination that they believe will be the best for the group?
      2. Select someone and ask him or her why.
      3. Ask for responses to the same destinations-other people who support and those who oppose.
      4. Continue by asking team members for other destinations.
      5. Call for a discussion of the pros and cons of staying in the United States.
      6. Ask for a consensus to end the discussion (when you feel there is nothing more to discuss).
      7. Call for the ballots.
      8. Explain that team members will vote for one destination and complete the section on the bottom of the ballot, clarifying the reasons for their vote.
    Home About Glossary The New York Public Library
    Privacy Policy | Rules & Regulations | Using the Internet | Website Terms & Conditions

    © The New York Public Library, 2005.