Lesson Plan

Defining Immigration and Migration

Explore students’ prior knowledge of im/migration with a contemporary photograph.

Launch the study of immigration and migration by having students explore a photograph of present-day immigrants and migrants with their families. Students will then consider what they know and what they want to know about immigration and migration before exploring real family stories for homework.


Launch the Study


1 Class Period


What do we already know and what do we want to learn for our new unit?

Related Programs


Important Information

What will students understand through this lesson?

  • Migration happens in many different ways (immigration, forced migration, voluntary migration, arrival as a refugee) and is core to the shared human experience. Immigration is one type of migration. Immigration is usually done by choice and is always a move from one country to another.
  • People have been coming to New York from all over the world since before the founding of the United States; people’s immigration experiences have patterns but also variety. People also migrate from one part of the country to another.

Primary Sources

Members of the The Epstein, Velez and Wong families today

Wong, Epstein, and Saez Velez Families

A photo of present-day immigrants, migrants and their families taken in July 2016.

Questions on lessons and activities?

The materials on this page can enrich a visit to the Museum or help you teach about immigration. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us.

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