Interrupted Migrations Unit Driving Question: How can human activities help or hinder animal migrations?

Helping Animals Migrate Lesson Driving Question: How has human activity changed the environment?

1. Facilitate group discussions about what makes playing a game fun and educational.

  • Have students discuss in their project groups the following questions:
      • What are some of your favorite games? What makes them fun?
      • What have you learned from different games you have played?
      • The game you are creating needs to be fun, but it also needs to educate people about animal migration and inspire them to care. What can you do in your game to encourage players to learn and care about animal migration?


2. Prepare groups for the game design workshop.

  • Throughout this unit, students have already created several possible elements for their game:
      • Three sets of cards: human impact cards, critter cards, and positive action cards
      • Game Board Map with human impacts and migratory routes
      • Contextual information, including a description of the setting and migration map
  • The goal for students is to use all of these pieces and create a game that can be played by at least two people. In this activity, students design the game and write the rules.
  • Distribute a copy of the Interrupted Migrations: Game Design Guide and the Interrupted Migrations: Game Design Rubric and Checklist to each student. As a class, discuss the directions and expectations for the game design.


3. Set up and facilitate game design studio time.

  • In their project groups, have students collaborate to organize all of their previously created pieces for their board game. Then, have students complete the Interrupted Migrations: Game Design Guide handout.
  • As students finish the Interrupted Migrations: Game Design Guide, guide groups to complete the design and development of their board games.
  • As student groups finish the development of their game, have each group play their game at least once to test that it has all come together as planned.
  • After testing by playing the game, have groups make revisions based on the game play to refine games and instructions.


4. Students present their game to the class before taking part in a class-wide Animal Migrations Game Fair.

  • Have each project group introduce their game by sharing the following details:
      • The geographic area that is the setting for their game
      • The three species involved in their game
      • A general explanation of how the game is played
      • The objective of the game
  • After each team has presented, have students choose at least one game to play other than their own. Have students move to different areas of the room in order to play the game they have selected.
  • As students are playing the games, distribute a copy of the Interrupted Migrations: Game Feedback Card to each student. After students have finished playing the game, have them complete the card to provide feedback for the game designers.
  • If time allows, have students rotate to a new game to play.


5. Debrief the unit with the class.

  • As a class, have students share their game play experiences by discussing the following questions:
      • What did you like most about the game you played?
      • How did the game inspire you to care more about animal migration and protecting migratory routes?
      • What is one thing you can do to protect migratory routes in our area?


Game Design Use the Game Design Rubric and Checklist to assess this game design project.

Extending the Learning

Students can invite other people to play with them, including guardians, other students, or school staff. Additionally, students could bring their games home to play with their families.

Subjects & Disciplines

  • Geography
  • Social Studies

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Design a game that showcases what they have learned about animal migration in their region.
  • Review classmates’ games for content and enjoyability.

Teaching Approach

  • Project-based learning

Teaching Methods

  • Brainstorming
  • Cooperative learning
  • Research

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7:  Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2:  Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.4:  Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation. 
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.9:  Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

The College, Career & Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

  • D2.Geo.1.6-8.:  Construct maps to represent and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics.

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Colored paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Glue
  • Magazines
  • Markers
  • Art supplies
  • Cardboard
  • Dice
  • Game pieces
  • Scissors

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Optional
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per pair, Color printer, Printer

Physical Space

  • Classroom


Students will need to have chairs and desks/tables that can be easily rearranged into small groups.


  • Small-group learning
  • Small-group work

Other Notes

This activity will likely take two or more class periods. A natural break would be to use the second class period for final preparations for the Game Fair, but this can be decided as the activity unfolds in the classroom.

Background Information

Humans have the opportunity to be powerful agents for change in assisting animal migration and limiting their impacts on migratory pathways. Education is a crucial method for spreading the word about why supporting animal migration is important and how we might take actions that help. Visual aids, like storytelling and narrative, are highly effective ways of communicating both the urgency of animal migration challenges and ways to take action. One vehicle for sharing this kind of geographic information is through games. The use of games in social studies has shown to improve a student’s role in and understanding of the world. Learning about animal migration through a game will support a call to action for the student in sharing the future of animal migration.


animal migration

process where a community of animals leaves a habitat for part of the year or part of their lives, and moves to habitats that are more hospitable.

migration route

path followed by birds or other animals that migrate regularly.


any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

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