• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Lesson plans for ages 9-11 in Geography: Refugees - Who, Where and Why?

Teaching Tools, 27 March 2007

© UNHCR/A.Rehrl/August 2, 2006
These young girls were sent to Syria with relatives, while their parents stayed in southern Lebanon to watch over their now-destroyed house, Al-Shariya high school, southern Damascus.

LESSON 3: Where Do Refugees Come From? Where Do They Go?


Have ready a class set of the Activity Sheet Refugees: Who, Where and Why?, and enough copies of an up-to-date world atlas, preferably 1 copy for every 2 students.


To provide a link to the previous lessons, spend the first few minutes on quick recall questions: Why do people leave their home countries? Why do refugees in particular leave their home countries?

After the revision questions, the students are each given a copy of the Activity Sheet: Refugees: Who, Where and Why? to complete. This can be done individually and then verbally checked, or it can be done as a class exercise. The teacher may need to provide some information sources for question 2 (newspapers/news magazines).

Finally, to help the students see that the refugee crisis is a world wide crisis, they should identify on a world map, the countries that generate refugees, and the countries who have offered asylum to refugees. This exercise could also offers the students an occasion to practise their map reading, using co-ordinates given by the teacher. For a change of pace, this practice could be in the form of a game, Geographical Bingo. (See below, for instructions on how to construct the bingo cards and rules of the game).

Country of origin Main country of asylum
Afghanistan Iran/Pakistan/ CIS/India
Rwanda Burundi/Tanzania/Uganda/Zaire
Bosnia Herzegovina Croatia/F.R. Yugoslavia/Germany
Liberia Guinea/Côte d'Ivoire/Ghana/Nigeria
Iraq Iran/Saudi Arabia
Somalia Djibouti/Ethiopia/Kenya/Yemen
Sudan Uganda/Zaire/Kenya/Ethiopia
Eritrea Sudan
Angola Zaire/Zambia/Congo/Namibia
Sierra Leone Guinea/Liberia

Geographical Bingo

  • Each student will need a copy of the world map from the class atlas. Ensure that the map has latitude and longitude co-ordinates.
  • On 34 slips of paper, write down the names and map co-ordinates of the countries from the above table - one country and its co-ordinates per slip of paper, e.g. SIERRA LEONE 8 N, 12 W.
  • Construction of Geographical Bingo Cards:
    • a) Take a sheet of A4 paper and fold it in half length-wise, and into quarters width-wise. This will produce eight sections, i.e. eight bingo cards. Take another A4 sheet and repeat the procedure to produce another eight blank bingo cards, giving a total of 16 bingo cards.
    • b) Randomly select 10 slips from the pile of 34 slips and write only the name of those 10 countries on the first bingo card.
    • c) Return the 10 slips to the pile and mix up the slips. Randomly select another 10 slips and write the names of the 10 countries on the second bingo card.
    • d) Repeat step (c) until all 16 cards are completed. The two A4 sheets can be photocopied and then be cut up to produce individual bingo cards. If the teacher feels energetic, steps (a), (b) and (c) can be repeated to produce a collection of totally different individual bingo cards.
  • Rules of Game:
    • a) Each student is issued with a Geographical Bingo card and a map of the world.
    • b) The teacher places the 34 slips of papers into a container, mixes them up before the class for effect, and randomly selects a slip. The teacher reads out the co-ordinates of the country and the students use their individual copy of the world map to identify the country and to check if they have the name of that country on their bingo card. If they do, they cross it out. The slip of paper is laid aside for later verification.
    • c) Another slip is randomly selected and the co-ordinates are read out, and again the students check whether they have it on their respective cards by using their maps. The slip is laid aside for later verification.
    • d) The first student who has all ten countries wins the round. However, check the winning card with the ten selected slips to make sure all is correct. Perhaps a chocolate bar could be the prize.
    • e) Several rounds could be played depending upon the mood of the class and the number of prizes available.