Refugees Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

How can you effectively teach your students about refugees? With this lesson plan, you'll be able to use a video lesson to help establish a basis for learning and an activity that allows students to analyze the circumstances resulting in refugees in the real world.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'refugee'
  • describe the reasons that contribute to the movement of refugees


1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claims.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


  • A video news clip about refugees
  • Five assorted news stories about refugees from around the world (past or present)
  • A worksheet created using the associated quiz


  • Begin by showing the video news clip to the class. As it is playing write the word 'refugee' on the board.
  • When the clip has finished playing, have the students take turns trying to define the term 'refugee'.
  • Now play the video lesson Refugee Origins and Destinations and pause at 00:56.
  • Review the definition and criteria for 'refugee' now with the class.
  • Ask the students if they can think of any recent examples of refugees. What was the cause or motivation? Write their ideas on the board.
  • Now play the lesson again and pause it at 1:44, reviewing the information regarding examples and causes of refugees as a class.
  • Now ask the class to consider what steps refugees might have to go through to accomplish their goals. Discuss this briefly as a class.
  • Play the rest of the video lesson now.
  • Ask students to come up with three words to describe the plight of refugees.
  • Now have the students share their descriptive words as you write them on the board.

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