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Overview

Essential Purpose

Whether on land, along the Bering Sea coasts or across seasonal ice, humans crossed from Asia to enter North America about 13,000 years ago. Questions continue to be asked about this migration of early humans as well as subsequent migrations.


Human Migration Patterns
An integral part of this movement of people is transportation. People on the move often have to overcome tremendous obstacles to get where they are going. Whether it is on foot; by using animals to carry them or pull them; by wagons, cars, or trains; by ship; or by airplane, people manage to go great distances taking as many of their belongings with them as they can. Their hope is that they can begin a new life in a place where the opportunities for a better life are greater than where they came from. Some key questions about the relationship of transportation to movement of people are: Then, there is the impact of the movement of humans on the landscape. Fifteen thousand years ago, the American landscape is said to have looked much like that of East Africa, with North American lions, cheetahs, saber-toothed cats, mammoths, and relatives of camels all wondering across the continent. Within a millennium or so, they were all gone. So, there are more questions about why and how changes in landscapes occur as the result of movement of people. Finally, this unit will examine how immigration to the United States is continuing to change with large numbers of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Latin American crossing our borders looking for a better life in the United States. The transfer task will help you help you think about the consequences of this vast movement of people.

National Geography Standards

Geography Standard 9: THE CHARACTERISTICS, DISTRIBUTION, AND MIGRATION OF HUMAN POPULATION ON THE EARTH’S SURFACE

By the end of grade eight, students should know and understand:

State/Local Standards

States should align these units to their own state/local standards as appropriate.

Essential Questions

Essential Content

Reasons for Moving

How People Moved (Transportation) Impact on the Environment

21st Century Skills

Summative Assessment

This summative assessment is a task that requires students to use knowledge and understandings to perform a task in a new setting or context.

The assessment and scoring guide should be reviewed with students prior to using the lessons in the module. Students should do the assessment after the lessons have been completed.

Essential Questions Measured by the Summative Assessment

Printable Student View

Prior Knowledge
Now that you have learned about the reasons why people immigrate and how they have overcome great obstacles to begin life in a new land, you are ready to assess the consequences of this move, both to the immigrants and to the country receiving the immigrants.

Problem
Immigration has become a major issue in the presidential campaign because so many immigrants have come into the country illegally. Although these immigrants make a major contribution to the country by working hard and often doing jobs that others are unwilling to do, some people in this country insist that they are a burden on our economy.

Role/Perspective
You are the speech writer of a major candidate running for the office of President of the United States. You know that he/she will be asked to take a position on this issue at an upcoming political debate.

Product
Prepare an outline for your candidate to be used in the upcoming debate. Organize the outline so that your candidate will have quick access to the information. Be sure there is a section on:

  • Why these immigrants want to come to the United States
  • How they are crossing the border and traveling to all parts of the United States
  • The obstacles faced by these immigrants and the dangers they face as they attempt to overcome these obstacles
  • The positive and negative consequences of this immigration to the economy and social life of our country
Finally, make recommendation to your candidate of what his position on this issue should be. Be sure to provide him with at least five supporting reasons for this position.

Criteria for an Exemplary Response
Be sure to include:

  • Why these immigrants want to come to the United States
  • How they are crossing the border and traveling to all parts of the United States
  • The obstacles faced by these immigrants and the dangers they face as they attempt to overcome these obstacles
  • The positive and negative consequences of this immigration to the economy and social life of our country
  • At least five supporting reasons for this position on the issue


Scoring Guide