Lesson Plan

Defining Immigration and Migration

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

This lesson is part of our Upper Elementary Unit Plan.


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

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.


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


1 Class Period

Related Museum Program

Our Museum tours feature the families highlighted in this resource. Click the link below for more information.

School Tours/Programs

Primary Sources

  • Wong Family Story article
  • Epstein Family Story article
  • Saez-Velez Family Story article
  • A photo of present-day immigrants, migrants and their families taken in July 2016.
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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