Immigration Lesson - Elementary Social Studies

Super Teacher Ideas Social Studies Activities: Immigration Game
Activities & Lesson Ideas
Learning About Immigration - Social Studies
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Super Teacher Ideas
Immigration Game
Submitted by Bobbi in Kentucky
3rd Grade Reading, Writing, and Social Studies Teacher


A fun way to teach students why some people to immigrate to other countries through this sometimes frustrating game.

1. Tape off 1 large square in your room or draw it with chalk out side on the black top and then 1 smaller square.

2. Place students in groups of 3-5 depending on the class size. I placed mine in groups of 4. I had 5 groups of 4

3. Send all groups except for 1 to the small square. Let the other group go to the Large square. They can stretch out and relax while the other group is crowded and a little uncomfortable.

4. Explain to the students that the large square represents America and its wide open land and the other square represents another country that does not have enough land or space for all the people who live their. Then tell them that America is made up of many immigrants. These immigrants come for several reasons. One reason is because their is not enough land/space in their home country. Ask them if they can understand why they would want to leave their country and come to America.

5. Have the students choose a fruit to represent each team. While they are choosing you can pass out supplies for the next step.

6. Give each square 12 crayons and 12 small pieces of paper. Explain that both countries are getting equal amounts of supplies. Then have them spread the supplies out in their country. They will see that their is not enough to go around the small group, but tell them that this is a rule of the game and when they get frustrated tell them your sorry, but you must follow the rules.

7. Tell the students that they are to draw as many pictures of the fruit their team chose with the paper and crayons they have. Set a timer for 2-3 minutes. Tell them they can do only one drawing per paper.

8. Create a chart with each team's fruit of choice for their name and tell them they will get points for each drawing their team did.

9. Give 1 point teach each team in the small square for each drawing and 2 points for each drawing in the large square. Continue to remind the students that you are just following the rules.

10. Explain to each student that each picture represents the food for that country. If they did not have a drawing then they could have starved. That some countries do not have enough food for all the people that live their and many die of starvation and disease.

Explain to your students that this is just a game, but in real life these things happen every day. People want to come to America for better living conditions, food, land and jobs.

There is a second part to the game that explains what people go through when they do try to immigrate. If you want more just let me know. Thanks!


Super Teacher Ideas - Social Studies - Immigration Lesson / Game