Assembly point - Ready to take flight

26th June 2009 at 01:00
Use pupils' summer holiday plans and visits to far-flung relatives to help them navigate their way through migration

The British weather often deters people from spending their holiday in the UK. But the recession seems to be convincing many of us to do just that this year. Why not take this opportunity to speak to pupils about "people flows", asking them where they will be going during the summer holidays and if this is different from previous years?

Start by comparing "circulation flows" - a term that is often used to describe people's movement within one year - with migration, which is usually defined as people relocating for periods of longer than a year.

Get them to mark on maps the villages, towns, cities, counties and countries they have visited in the past year. If you prepare this in advance, they could bring in pictures from these places to be mounted on the map.

Pupils could write down the main reason for their visits - a holiday or perhaps a visit to a relative? Arrange these reasons under suitable headings, so pupils can clearly see the differences. Then ask them questions such as: what was the most common reason for travelling? Did the reasons for travel change the further people went? And what types of transport did people use?

A good way to see the similarities and differences between these movements could be to draw different-coloured lines between places. This also creates an opportunity for research into the different places. How do they differ? What is the main source of income for their inhabitants? Is it tourism or something else?

On a different map, draw lines from pupils' home town or village to where they have relatives or have travelled to themselves. This makes a good link to migration, which varies more in terms of the number of people and the distances involved.

Ask pupils to think about whether movement is between continents or countries, national or regional, or even more local. With this map, it is also important to consider the direction of flows and whether it is to a less or more economically developed country or to somewhere rural or urban. This provides an opportunity for more research into migration and its causes and motivations.

Get pupils to read local newspapers to see what kind of language is used when referring to immigrants - is it positive or negative? Ask them to do research on how migration differs from their own holidays. And get them to think about how the impacts of migration on the source region differ from those on the destination.

You should also encourage pupils to put themselves in the position of arriving in a country where they don't know anyone. What would be the biggest challenges? Could travel in this sense be a negative experience?

You could draw a simple table with columns that look at motives for migration, the impact on the source region, host region and migrants. Contrast this with circulation flows by making pupils draw lines on a map that reveal the different directions of migration, as well as showing the differences in scale.

To finish, ask pupils to present their findings; some might do a role play where each student represents a country. Their position could be calculated on a smaller scale, still representing the real distance between countries and places. Others might tell the story of one particular person who had to move somewhere unknown, or they could create a PowerPoint presentation with migration data.


National Statistics migration data:

Information on movement of people: www.worldmapper.orgtextindextext_movement.html

Migration Commission:

Related content:

Mapping our world


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