Box #1: Culture in Migration

Teaching Units & Lesson Plans

Work: Culture and Work


Students will explore the connection between manners of eating and culture. Students will explore the idea that a social agreement, rather than a "right" or "wrong" way of doing things, constructs manners and culture. Students will come to understand that culture, such as eating habits/manners, travel with individuals as they migrate.

Michigan Standards

II.3:Location, Movement, and Connections

All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of economic activities, trade, political activities, migration, information flow, and the interrelationships among them. Locations are connected by different transportation and communication networks that channel the movement of people, goods, and information. Location of places along the networks is important in analyzing why some places are different in size and complexity from other places, what connections have developed, why movement occurs, and the consequences of different types of movement

Geographic Perspective

II.1:Diversity of People, Places, and Cultures

All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of places, cultures, and settlements. The mosaic of people, places, and cultures expresses the rich variety of the earth. Natural and human characteristics meld to form expressions of cultural uniqueness, as well as similarities among peoples. Culture is the way of life of a group of people including language, religion, traditions, family structure, institutions, and economic activities.

English Language Arts


All students will read and analyze a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature and other texts to seek information, ideas, enjoyment, and understanding of their individuality, our common heritage and common humanity, and the rich diversity of our society. One of the important ways we learn to use language effectively is through our close reading of a wide range of well-constructed texts used for a variety of purposes. The reading of both fiction and non-fiction high-quality literature allows us to experience and learn things that we might not experience in our daily lives; reading helps us to understand the actions, thoughts, and feelings of others who may or may not be like us. Exploring texts that our ancestors felt important, as well as texts that represent other cultures and other times, helps to increase our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and our world.

Time: 45-60 min.


*indicates materials not included in the artifact box


  1. Show students where Senegal is located on the map of Africa if they have not yet seen it.
  2. Read students the story “ Bouki, Lekk, and the Palm Tree”

    As you read ask:

    • What do you think he will do (after Bouki and Lekk reach the top of the tree)
    • How do you think Lekk/Bouki’s mbokk felt after each reached the top of the palm tree.
  3. Discuss with the students how they feel about Bouki’s choices and Lekk’s choices. Do they agree or disagree. Ask students how they would deal with this situation.
  4. Use this to lead into the more abstract discussion of success. Compare achieving success to reaching the coconuts. Include how many of us need help from our mbokk to achieve success.
  5. Compare the rewards of achieving success to the coconuts that Bouki and Lekk gathered.
  6. Then have each student return to their seats with a success coconut workpage and a “My culture and Work” workpage.