Ami Vitale has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit—all in keeping with her philosophy of “living the story.” Students will see the world through the eyes of an award-winning photojournalist.

Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for her upcoming National Geographic Live student matinee experience. Use the Before the Show ideas to introduce students to Ami Vitale and the topics (animals, conservation, photography) that she will discuss during the show. Use the After the Show ideas to extend learning.

Before the Show

  • Have students review Ami Vitale’s biography.

  • Download and print the provided map or use the MapMaker Interactive to explore the areas where Ami Vitale works. 

  • Have students read the conservation encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about conserving resources. After reading, ask: What resources do you interact with in your daily lives? What do you do to conserve them? Invite students to create a classroom conservation checklist with easy things they can do every day at home or in the classroom.

  • Watch the Panda Reintroduction video to familiarize students with the work the speaker documented about pandas in China. Have students investigate China’s geography using the provided, downloadable map of China.

  • Discuss captive breeding with high school students using the provided activities.

  • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions and Ami Vitale, and provide a brief description of photojournalism and wildlife conservation. Have students fill out the What I Know and What I Want to Know columns of the KWL Chart. Have them fill out the What I Learned column after the show.

  • Use the graphic organizer collection to select a graphic organizer to help your students organize their questions and new knowledge before, during, and after the program. For example:

    • Download and print the T Chart. Have students label the left column with Questions I Have and the right column with Answers and then conduct research about the speaker and speaker topic ahead of the program. Have students record answers to their questions during or after the program. Have students conduct research to complete any unanswered questions for homework.

    • Download and print the provided Five Ws Chart. Have each student bring their copy to the matinee program and take notes.

After the Show

  • Use the Explorer Comparisons worksheet and have a class discussion to help students make connections between themselves and Ami Vitale. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms that they are unfamiliar with. After the presentation, have students share the notes that they took during the show. Have a class discussion about attitudes and skills and how students demonstrate them in their everyday lives. Have students record their personal examples on the worksheet.

  • Review the continents, countries, or areas that the speaker presented. Ask: What continents, countries, or areas does the speaker work in? Have younger students imagine that these places were characters in the stories that Ami Vitale shared. Ask:What role did place play in Ami Vitale’s story? Why was location important to the story? How did the characteristics of the place influence the story?

  • Discuss and define any unfamiliar terminology that was used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Ami Vitale use that were new to you? Invite volunteers to write the words on the board, and have the class define them as a group using the information they learned from the speaker or through research. If desired, have students record unfamiliar terminology during the show on one half of a T Chart. Then, have them write the definitions on the other side following this class discussion.

  • Have a class discussion about the attitudes National Geographic explorers embody. Ask: What attitudes did Ami Vitale talk about today? In what ways does Ami Vitale demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in her work? Why do you think these attitudes are important for explorers? Students can use their Five Ws Chart for reference and a graphic organizer to organize their ideas.

  • Have a whole-class brainstorm on how students can make changes or support Ami’s work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did Ami Vitale make? How can you implement any changes in your day-to-day life? What can we work on together as a group?
captive breeding

reproduction of rare species controlled by humans in a closed environment, such as a zoo.


confinement or imprisonment.


management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.


to return members of a species to their historical range.


overthrow or total change of government.

wildlife trafficking
poaching or other taking of protected or managed species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their related parts and products.