Photograph by Michael Nichols/National Geographic Creative.
Photograph by Hugo Van Lawick/National Geographic Creative
Photograph by Michael Nichols/National Geographic Creative
In the 1960s, with no formal academic training, Jane Goodall ventured into the forests of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, to observe chimpanzees in the wild. During her time there she made three observations of chimpanzees that challenged conventional scientific theories held at the time: (1) chimps are omnivores not herbivores, (2) chimps make and use tools, and (3) chimps make their tools (at the time, a trait used to define humans). These insights altered the way we understood our place in the animal kingdom and opened doors for other women in science. Jane is still hard at work today, traveling approximately 300 days a year, raising awareness and money to protect the chimpanzees and their habitat through her nonprofit organization the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and JGI’s youth program, Roots & Shoots.
Use the classroom resources below to teach about the importance of conservation and how today’s students—and tomorrow's leaders—can make an impact.
Have your students write a letter to conservationist Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall was the first person to observe chimpanzees creating and using tools—a trait that, at that time, was thought to be distinctly human. This discovery changed the way that we understand both animals and ourselves. With your class, read a letter written by Jane Goodall from the National Geographic archive. Then ask your students to respond to the prompt, “You have inspired me to be the first to…” Submit your students’ letters to National Geographic, where a committee will review and select exemplary letters to post online. Teachers who submit letters on behalf of their students will receive a copy of the film and the discussion guide.
Check out this article, idea set, and media spotlight on Jane Goodall
Use these materials to teach students about conducting expeditions like Jane’s and getting involved in conservation work.
Meet some of National Geographic’s foremost scientists and explorers.
Kakani Katija is an ocean-focused bioengineer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Profile of Dr. Ashley Murray, wastewater engineer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Tan Le is the founder of Emotiv Lifesciences and a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She’s an innovator in the complex field of brain science, using transformative approaches that empower individuals to better understand their own brains.
Sarah Parcak has spent most of her career in Egypt, excavating countless ruins. Satellite imagery has helped her discover even more.
Amy Leventer is a geologist who examines the history of Antarctica's climate, and what it means for today.
Erika Bergman is taking citizen science to a new level by inviting students to participate in her expeditions through video chats.
A profile of Louise Leakey, famed paleontologist and the director of public education and outreach for the Turkana Basin Institute.
Juliana Machado Ferreira discusses the damage wildlife trafficking is causing the people, plants, and animals of the Amazon region.
Explore the physical and human geography of Africa with these resources.
Africa’s northern half is more dry and hot, while its southern end is more humid and cool.
This collection of resources includes interactive mapping tools that will allow educators and learners to delve deeper into a geographic perspective of Africa and the Great Lakes region.
Customize a printable one-page map of Africa with basic map elements, borders and names, and other features.
Africa is sometimes nicknamed the "Mother Continent" due to its being the oldest inhabited continent on Earth.
Download, print, and assemble maps of Africa in a variety of sizes. The mega map occupies a large wall, or can be used on the floor. It is made up of 72 pieces; download rows 1-8 for the full map. The tabletop size is made up of 9 pieces and is good for small group work.
Africa has an array of diverse ecosystems, from sandy deserts to lush rain forests.
Get up close with these high resolution maps of Africa.
Encourage students to learn more about conservation work with these encyclopedic entries.
The Earth’s natural resources include air, water, soil, minerals, plants, and animals. Conservation is the practice of caring for these resources so all living things can benefit from them now and in the future.
An endangered species is a type of organism that is threatened by extinction. Species become endangered for two main reasons: loss of habitat and loss of genetic variation.
A species range is an area where a particular species can be found during its lifetime. Species range includes areas where individuals or communities may migrate or hibernate.
A rain forest is an area of tall trees and a high amount of rainfall.
A rift valley is a lowland region that forms where Earth’s tectonic plates move apart, or rift.
Anthropology is the study of the origin and development of human societies and cultures.
A zoo is a place where animals live in captivity and are put on display for people to view. The word “zoo” is short for “zoological park."
An herbivore is an organism that mostly feeds on plants. Herbivores range in size from tiny insects such as aphids to large, lumbering elephants.
A carnivore is an organism that mostly eats meat, or the flesh of animals. Sometimes carnivores are called predators.
Use these videos to introduce students to the work of Jane Goodall and others like her.
Although Jane initially balked at having Hugo van Lawick document her work with the chimpanzees, their partnership resulted in these beautiful images.
Check out these other National Geographic Programs!