Browse By Migrations Geography Timeline Source Materials Education Materials Search
Colonization and Emigration
Mapping the Human Movement Lesson Plan
In the narrative Colonization and Emigration, the emigration of African Americans from western countries to the Caribbean and Africa is discussed in depth. Students will map the movement of people to and from the United States in this lesson, Mapping the Human Movement. Students will practice their skills in reading content to locate the data on African-American emigration. After placing the data in a chart, students will create a human movement map. They then will create another map using research on current immigration information.
Grade Levels:Middle and high school, grades 6-12
For use with:Colonization and Emigration
Concentration Area:History
Concentration Area:Geography
National Curriculum Standards met by this lesson
The following standards have been taken from the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning ( standards.
Students will understand

  • Understand factors that inhibited and fostered African Americans attempts to improve their lives during Reconstruction (e.g., how foundations were laid for modern black communities; how traditional values inhibited the role of the Freedmen's Bureau, the struggle between former masters and former slaves, and the role of black churches and schools in providing self-help within the African-American community).
  • Understand the nature, distribution, and migration of human populations on the Earth's surface.
  • Know the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment.
Time required
Three-five 45-minute class periods
Materials needed
  • Narrative, Colonization and Emigration
  • Two sets of blank political world maps (may use maps labeled with country names)
  • World Wall Map or Overhead World Map
  • Access to the Internet or printed copies of immigration data
  • Colored Pencils
  • Atlases
Anticipatory Set

  1. Ask students to discuss the following questions:

    1. How many of your families immigrated to the United States?
    2. Why did they emigrate from their home countries?
    3. What did they hope to gain in the United States?
  2. Tell students that they will be examining the forced immigration of enslaved Africans to the United States and then research data on immigration today.

  1. In Colonization and Emigration, have students read about the large numbers of emigrants from the United States and other western countries to the Caribbean and Africa. In this lesson, ask students to re-read the narrative with a partner, highlight the emigration data, and place it in a chart. Before beginning, review the terms below (taken from

    1. Emigration: migration from a place (especially migration from your native country in order to settle in another).
    2. Immigration: migration into a place (especially migration to a country of which you are not a native in order to settle there).
  2. Pass out copies of Colonization and Emigration to the students. Working in pairs, have them use the text to complete the emigration chart.

    A completed chart will look similar to the following, although some differences may occur as some data is in general terms:
    Emigrate From Year Immigrate To Number of Immigrants
    England 1787 Sierra Leone 450
    Canada 1792 Sierra Leone 1,200
    "Recaptives" from slave ships 1807 Sierra Leone 58.000
    United States 1815 Sierra Leone 38
    United States 1820 Sierra Leone 80
    United States 1800s Liberia 16.000 (estimated)
    United States 1913 Ghana 60
    United States 1824 Haiti & Santo Domingo Several hundred
    United States 1861 Haiti 911
    United States 1863 Haiti 453 (survivors returned in less than one year)
    United States 1812–1847 Trinidad 1,500–2,000
    United States 1894 Mexico Several hundred
    United States Post Rev. War Canada 5,000
    United States Post War of 1812 Canada 2,000
    United States 1905–1912 Canada More than 1,000

  3. Once students have completed the chart, check the charts together to make sure that the data is correct. (You may decide to give a classroom participation grade by observing the students working in pairs.)
  4. Add the total number of immigrants emigrating from one particular country and going to another country. For example, add the number of immigrants to Sierra Leone from the United States.
  5. Give each student a copy of a world map. Using a wall map or an overhead, have them locate the countries listed below together, coloring each one a different color. Students also could do this in student pairs with atlases.

    1. United States
    2. Canada
    3. England
    4. Sierra Leone
    5. Liberia
    6. Ghana
    7. Haiti
    8. Trinidad
    9. Mexico
  6. After doing an example together, have student pairs place arrows on their map to represent immigration. The arrow to a particular country should be colored the same color as the country. For example, Sierra Leone and the arrow representing the immigrants to it should both be the same color.
  7. To visually represent the number of immigrants, students should increase the arrow width as the number of immigrants increases. Therefore, the wider the arrow, the larger amount of immigrants. The arrows should be labeled with the number of immigrants.

    1. England > Sierra Leone = 450
    2. Canada > Sierra Leone = 1,200
    3. United States > Sierra Leone = 118
    4. Recaptives from West, Central, and Southeastern Africa > Sierra Leone = 58,000
    5. United States > Liberia = 16,000
    6. United States > Ghana = 60
    7. United States > Haiti = 2,000
    8. United States > Trinidad = 1,500–2,000
    9. United States > Mexico = several hundred
    10. United States > Canada = 8,000
  8. Collect the maps for assessment. You may use the rubric below, based on 20 points, which you may multiply by five to determine a letter grade.
    Grading Criteria Poor Fair Good Excellent
    Countries are accurately labeled 1 2 3 4
    Arrows and countries match in color 1 2 3 4
    Width of the arrows correctly indicates number of immigrants 1 2 3 4
    Arrows are labeled with the correct number of immigrants 1 2 3 4
    Map is neat and easily legible 1 2 3 4

  9. Using the Internet, have students research the latest data on immigration to the United States from the following countries and input their finding on this table.

    1. Canada
    2. Sierra Leone
    3. Liberia
    4. Ghana
    5. Haiti
    6. Trinidad and Tobago
    7. Mexico
    The data from 2002 was:
    Year From Number of Immigrants
    2002 Canada 27,296
    2002 Sierra Leone 902
    2002 Ghana 4,693
    2002 Haiti 19,1989
    2002 Trinidad and Tobago 5,682
    2002 Mexico 217,318
    2002 Liberia 1,473

  10. Give students another blank map. As in the previous activity, ask students to map the immigration to the United States from the countries they researched.
  11. Collect the maps for assessment using the same rubric as above.

  1. Have students use the data from the two charts and maps, as well as from the Colonization and Emigration narrative, to compare the previous immigration to Africa with the immigration to the United States today. They could answer the questions below individually, with partners, or in small groups:

    1. Why were African Americans emigrating from the United States in the late 1700s-early 1900s?
    2. Were some people opposed to this emigration? Why or why not?
    3. Why do you think some countries have higher numbers of emigrants than others? (For instance, smaller populations, U.S. immigration quotas, lack of opportunity or desire, etc.)
    4. Do you see any comparisons or contrasts between the two charts? What are they?
    5. Why do you think people immigrate to the United States today?
  2. Grade each question on a five-point scale. Total the number of points and multiply by four to find equivalent percentage or letter-grade scale score.
    Grading Criteria Total Points
    Question is answered in detail with support and in complete sentences 5
    Question is answered with some supporting details and in complete sentences 4
    Question is answered, but it has limited support and answers may or may not be in complete sentences 3
    Question is answered with no support and may or may not be answered in complete sentences 2
    Question is answered incorrectly 1
    No response 0

Related Works
Interdisciplinary Links

  • Art: After researching the information, students illustrate one of the African-American emigrations, depicting important people or a specific location. Coordinating with the art teacher, students may explore different graphic or drawing styles.
  • Mathematics: Students research immigration to the United States from one of the featured countries in this lesson. Students find data from five-ten years, creating a line graph with the information.
Home About Glossary The New York Public Library
Privacy Policy | Rules & Regulations | Using the Internet | Website Terms & Conditions

© The New York Public Library, 2005.