Box #1: Culture in Migration

Teaching Units & Lesson Plans

Migration: When we move what do we take?


Students will consider how culture can migrate along with material belongings. Students will consider how different cultures may be different, not wrong. Students will have the opportunity to view how culture may adapt when we 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.


V.1:Information Processing

All students will acquire information from books, maps, newspapers, data sets, and other sources, organize and present the information in maps,

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 : 30-40 min.

Materials :

  • *The Way We Do It In Japan by Geneva Cobb Ijima


    * Going Home Coming Home
  • Pictures
  • Map of Africa

*indicates materials not included in the artifact box

Procedure :

  1. Activate prior knowledge by showing students pictures and asking a few students to describe the pictures (they will based on their own cultural understandings), and then give them the accurate description:
    • Picture 1: Business women working cooperatively to dye fabrics that will be sold in order to support their village. This picture was taken in Senegal , West Africa .
    • Picture 2 : These are Koranic writing boards. For many children in Senegal this is their first introduction to school. They attend Koranic street schools where they learn about Islam and how to read and write the Koran on these boards.
    • Picture 3: These are adult women using their best Senegalese dinner manners. In Senegalese culture dinner manners are very different than those that we have in the U.S.
    • Picture 4: This is a picture of an lower class urban Senegalese Home located in Dakar , Senegal . And the animals provide meat, milk, and egss for the family.
    • Picture 5: This is a school. More accurately this is a womens’ literacy project in a rural village of Senegal
  2. Before moving on show students where Senegal is located on the map of Africa .
  3. Read The way we do it in Japan or Going Home Coming Home.

    **Review the book prior to teaching the lesson, so to become familiar with areas in which you feel comfortable inserting questions and discussion points.

  4. While reading this book, discuss how the main character made assumptions about how things would be done based on his own culture. Ask students:
    • What assumptions they might make if they were confronted with some of these differences.
    • Can they think of any person or group of people who may have confronted some of these challenges in America .
    • Considering how the main character feels, how might they feel, or how might people migrating to the U.S. feel about differences in culture.
    • Point out that the main character is not stupid in Japan but he is ignorant to how to read Japanese, and communicate with his friend, etc.
    • Through out the book be sure to emphasize how the two cultures, or ways of doing things, is different, but not wrong or stupid.