1. Have students discuss reasons whole groups or communities might move to another location.
Review with students some of the push factors and pull factors that cause individuals to move from one location to another. Then have students discuss possible reasons that whole groups or communities might move to another location. Provide them with the following examples:
- human-made environmental disasters that make it unsafe to stay in an area
- natural disasters that make it unsafe to stay in an area
- the loss of industries or employers in an area
- a less extreme climate
- cultural resources
- job opportunities
Have students identify which are push factors and which are pull factors. Have students add their own examples of additional push and pull factors.
2. Have small groups investigate your community’s history.
Divide students into small groups. Provide groups with historical documents, newspaper articles, photographs, and other documents you gathered. Write the questions below on the board, and ask students to find the answers to the questions as they explore the materials:
- What push factors can you find? Why did people leave the community?
- What pull factors can you find? Why did people move into the community?
3. Have groups present their findings to the class.
Have students create and share brief, simple presentations that show migration to and from your community. Have students draw pictures that show these push and pull factors and explain their drawings to the class.
Check students’ comprehension. Ask:
- What is a push factor?
- What is a pull factor?
Extending the Learning
Have students add captions for each push or pull factor in their drawings.
Subjects & Disciplines
- World History
- explain migration in terms of push and pull factors
- describe their community’s migration history
This activity targets the following skills:
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards
- Theme 3: People, Places, and Environments
National Geography Standards
- Standard 9: The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface
What You’ll Need
Materials You Provide
- Construction paper
- Historical documents about your community
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Small-group instruction
Before starting this activity, gather historical documents, newspaper articles, photographs, and other documents that help to tell your community’s migration story.
It’s important to understand why people move, or the push and pull factors that cause them to move. Push factors “push” people away from their home and include things like war. Pull factors “pull” people to a new home and include things like better opportunities. The reasons people migrate are usually economic, political, cultural, or environmental.
- push and pull factors
Recommended Prior Activities
the movement of people from one place to another.
force that draws people to immigrate to a place.
force that drives people away from a place.