Title:  Migration of Labor

Grade Level: 7-12

Subject(s): Social Studies 11.11.1, Geography, Economics


Taking a look at why people move between borders, this lesson focuses on migration of labor within Central America and to the US.


To explore the nature of migration and its effects on individuals, and to think about this topic within the context of globalization.



Print out the three NPR Morning Edition Reports: The Trail of Latino Migration: Leaving Home at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1447891

Activities and Procedures:

  1. Ask students if any of them had to move because of their parents' job. Discuss the decisions and reasons behind why people move for jobs.
  2. Listen to the audio portion of the NPR report.
  3. Divide into three groups - each group reads one of the sections from the three-part Morning Edition series and takes notes.
  4. Re-divide students so that one representative from each of the three sections are grouped together. Have students share from parts 1, 2, and 3 of The Trail of Latino Migration and take notes on each others' sections.
  5. Using a map of Mesoamerica, draw the migration routes and write in relevant information from the notes taken.
  6. Discuss: Why do people move to the North? What are some of the dangers? What are the benefits? What would your life have to be like in order for you to pick up and move as these people did?

Tying It Together:

  1. Have students do their own geneology research and find out why and when their family came to the United States. A good resource is the Ellis Island Records website at http://www.ellisislandrecords.org
  2. Go to the INS website and look at the qualifications for citizenship: http://www.uscitizenship.info/?ad=adword&keyword=immigration. Bonus points for taking (and passing) the citizenship test!
  3. Related Lessons: Migration - El Norte, Global Economics Simulation