Immerse yourself in the latest amazing stories from beneath the waves as a master underwater photographer reports on his most recent National Geographic assignments. Brian Skerry’s surprisingly intimate portraits of marine life have captured the imagination of a generation. From a fascinating look at dolphins’ intelligence to a profile of the enigmatic bluefin tuna, Skerry’s camera illuminates long-held mysteries of the deep. 

Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for their upcoming National Geographic Live student matinee experience. Use the "before the show" ideas to introduce students to Brian Skerry and the topics (oceans, conservation, animals) that he will discuss during the show. Use the "after the show" ideas to extend the learning.  

Before the Show

  • 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.    
  • Excite students about the ocean using the Ocean Connections and Ocean Exploration activities. In Ocean Connections, students will brainstorm and display on a map a variety of ways they are connected to the ocean. In Ocean Exploration, students will brainstorm what it means to be an explorer, watch a short video, and write or draw on a world map what they would like to explore in the ocean.
  • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the Ocean Soul program they will attend, Brian Skerry, and provide a brief description of underwater photography and ocean 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 Brian Skerry. 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 Brian Skerry shared. Ask: What role did place play in Brian Skerry’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 Brian Skerry used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Brian Skerry 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 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 Brian Skerry talk about today? In what ways does Brian Skerry demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in his 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 the speaker’s work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did Brian Skerry ask you to make? How can you implement any changes in your day-to-day life? What can we work on together as a group?

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


community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.


having to do with the ocean.


movement of a group of people or animals from one place to another.


large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.