Emerging Explorer and guerrilla geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison packs a spirit of adventure into education.

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  • This video was filmed on Wednesday, June 13th at the 2012 National Geographic Explorers Symposium at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.


    Could you cross a forest without touching the ground? What would you see if you walked through your entire city taking a photo every eight steps? This is geography for National Geographic Emerging Explorer Daniel Raven-Ellison. He's using films, books, websites, and walks to take geography far beyond memorizing dots on a map, challenging children and adults to experience every aspect of the world around them in a more meaningful way. For Raven-Ellison, the road to adventure is "guerrilla geography": daring people to challenge preconceptions about places; engage in social and environmental justice; and form deeper, more active community connections.


    • Introduction and Raven-Ellison's background (start-01:47 min.)
    • What is geography? (01:48-03:27 min.)
    • Guerilla geography and thinking creatively (03:28-04:32 min.)
    • Seeing the world differently: exploration is alive (04:33-06:38 min.)
    • The barriers of geography, risks, and allowing children to play outside (06:39-09:49 min.)
    • Guerrilla geography in action (09:50-10:54 min.)
    • Urban earth walks (10:55-11:59 min.)
    • Mission:Explore: encouraging children to be curious creative and critical (12:00-13:57 min.)
    • The importance of geography (13:58-14:21 min.)

    Strategies for Using Video in a Variety of Learning Environments

    • Have students preview several of the videos and choose the one they find most inspiring. Have students describe in writing a conversation they might have with the speaker(s).
    • Freeze the video on a relevant image. Have students observe details in the still image and jot down predictions of what the full video might address. Discuss students’ ideas before and after watching the video.
    • Pose an open-ended question before students watch the video, and have them discuss their ideas before and after in small groups.
    • Have students determine what they think the key message of this video is. Was the speaker effective in getting his or her message across?
    • Show a short clip to engage students during class, and then have students watch the full video at home and write a paragraph responding to the content or a question you give them.
    • Have students note statements that represent facts or opinions, including where it’s difficult to tell the difference. What further research might help distinguish facts and opinions? How might the speaker’s viewpoint compare with others’ viewpoints about a topic?
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Emerging Explorer Noun

    an adventurer, scientist, innovator, or storyteller recognized by National Geographic for their visionary work while still early in their careers.

    exploration Noun

    study and investigation of unknown places, concepts, or issues.

    geographer Noun

    person who studies places and the relationships between people and their environments.

    geography Noun

    study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.

    Encyclopedic Entry: geography
    guerrilla Adjective

    having to do with warfare conducted by organized groups of civilians, not soldiers or the military.

    place Noun

    area having unique physical and human characteristics.

    space Noun

    geographic area that can be specific, like a parking space, or infinite, like outer space.