Migration Background Information for Teachers and Families

Grade Levels: K-3

This page contains information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about migration. The information is designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. movie Migration. It explains the type of content covered in the movie, provides ideas for how teachers and parents can develop related understandings, and suggests how other BrainPOP Jr. resources can be used to scaffold and extend student learning.

When an animal migrates, it moves to a different place. This movie will explore different migrating animals and investigate some of the reasons why they move and how they know when to migrate. As you watch the movie, we encourage you to pause and have children make predictions, summarize, and add their own ideas to the movie. We recommend watching the Seasons movie together as a review.

<p>Remind children that animals migrate for many different reasons. Some animals migrate to find better sources of food, water, or shelter. Other animals migrate to visit particular breeding grounds, rear their young, or to find warmer climates. The frequency of animals’ migrations also differs: Some animals migrate seasonally, others migrate once in a lifetime or only to breed, and others are nomadic and migrate wherever the best resources and environments are at that time.</p>

<p>Not all migrations are the same. Grey Whales migrate between the warm waters of Mexico to the cold Arctic seas, while brown bats migrate only a very short distance. Certain animals take breaks along the way, while others travel nonstop. Hummingbirds bulk up before their big trek, or they may stop and eat along the way. Animals also differ greatly in the ways that they are able to navigate. Some animals, like homing pigeons, use their sense of smell, while others follow trails, use the Sun and stars, or follow coastlines. Yet others, like the arctic tern, feel the Earth’s magnetic pull. Many animals know where to go instinctively, while others (like Canada geese) have to be taught by their parents. There are many reasons why animals may determine it’s time to migrate; they may be prompted by a change in temperature, in the length of daylight, or even in hormones that cause them to eat more and save fat for the journey.</p>

<p>It’s important for your children to realize that animals migrate for a reason. Kids can learn how to identify these reasons by comparing and contrasting the migrations of different animals. When your children grasp the various motives for animal migrations, they will gain a greater understanding about the natural world.</p>