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The Land of Milk and Honey: Reasons for Migration

In this lesson students will brainstorm reasons people leave their homes and move somewhere else. After discussing modern day reasons for migration students will explore the motives of early settlers to immigrate to colonial North Carolina. Motives will be explored using a primary source, specifically letters from potential settlers asking for permission to come to the land of "milk and honey".

Grade Level 4th grade

Learning outcomes

Students will:

Teacher Planning

45 minutes

NC Colonial records vol. 4 pg 18 (Memorial of the Swiss to be Carried over to Carolina)

To begin the lesson, ask students to consider why people move to different areas. Brainstorm reasons and situations that would result in people moving. If relevant have students who have immigrated to the United States share why they came.

Using a map or a globe show the children where Switzerland is, specifically look for the Rhine river (this is mentioned in the primary source).

Discuss that during colonial times many people decided to move to North America for different reasons, some of the same reasons people move today. There were also unique reasons people choose to leave Europe to explore the new world such as religious persecution, adventure, and in some cases forced migration. Discuss how when we move today we can pack our belongings in a car, truck or airplane and quickly get to another location. We also usually move right into another home. During colonial times it was not that easy. There were not cars or airplanes. It would take several months on a ship to get to North America. There were limitations on what you could bring with you. North America was not settled yet so there was only land. Once colonists arrived they had to build their own homes. Many people would get sick on the boat because they did not have the medicine we had today and they would sometimes die. It was very risky to travel. Often people would have to get permission to travel, especially if they did not have enough money to pay for the trip over. Some countries would not allow people to leave or would only encourage people to leave who were considered unfit, such as those who were really poor, widowed, or otherwise deemed different. Switzerland was an example of a country that did not want its citizens to leave but would allow some people to go. We are going to read a petition from a Swiss group asking to leave Bern, Switzerland and immigrate to the Carolinas.

Read the text with the students.

After reading ask the students to think about why these people wanted to immigrate to the new world. Link this back to the discussion about why people immigrate today.

Show the students the map of North Carolina, show them New Bern. Explain that the settlers did come and they established the city of New Bern. Help them make the connection between Bern, Switzerland and New Bern, North Carolina.

Have the students write a journal entry pretending to be a person interested in immigrating to the colonies. Ask them to provide a reason they wanted to leave and what they thought they would find when they arrived.

The students could write a letter asking for permission to leave and settle in a colony.

NC curriculum alignment

Social Studies
2.02 Trace the growth and development of immigration to North Carolina, over time from Europe, Asia, and Latin America

Language Arts
3.01 Respond to fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama using interpretive, critical, and evaluative processes by:

Lesson plan created by Lara Willox.