• Originally trained as a biologist, German photographer and filmmaker Carsten Peter quickly traded in lab work for being out in the field soaking in the wonder of nature. “Since I was fifteen,” he said, “I’ve never put the camera away.” Take an electrifying journey into some of our planet’s most extreme environments with Peter. A fearless explorer, Peter is enthusiastically obsessed with devising innovative photographic techniques that allow him to capture dramatic, never-before-seen images of places few humans have ever dared to go. His ability to document the forces of nature has earned him numerous National Geographic assignments, including expeditions to Vietnam’s vast system of mammoth caves and to Mexico’s Cave of Crystals, where enormous giant crystals look more like science fiction than fact. Living on the edge with his camera, he searches for nature at its purest—where survival depends on his wits and his skills as a climber, paraglider, caver, and diver.


    Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for their upcoming National Geographic Live student matinee experience. Use the ideas before the show to introduce students to Carsten Peter and the topics (volcanoes, caves, geology) that he will discuss during the show. Use the ideas after the show to extend the learning.


    Before the Show

    • Have students review Carsten Peter’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab on this page.  

    • Have students read the volcanoes encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about this extreme environment. Have students investigate the locations of volcanoes around the world using the MapMaker Interactive map. Familiarize students with the geography of volcanoes and earthquakes by using the Ring of Fire encyclopedic entry.

    • Investigate extreme environments on Earth using the Earth’s Extremes geostory. Use the questions on the geostory page to check for student understanding.

    • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the program they will attend, who the speaker is, and a brief description of what the speaker’s topic(s) will be. 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 Carsten Peter. 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 Carsten Peter shared. Ask: What role did place play in Carsten Peter’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 the speaker used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Carsten Peter 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 Carsten Peter talk about today? In what ways did Carsten Peter 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 the speaker 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?

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    cave Noun

    underground chamber that opens to the surface. Cave entrances can be on land or in water.

    extreme Adjective

    unusual or extraordinary.

    Ring of Fire Noun

    horseshoe-shaped string of volcanoes and earthquake sites around edges of the Pacific Ocean.

    Encyclopedic Entry: Ring of Fire
    volcano Noun

    an opening in the Earth's crust, through which lava, ash, and gases erupt, and also the cone built by eruptions.

    Encyclopedic Entry: volcano