• Join Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, National Geographic's Explorer of the Year for 2012, on an expedition to the top of the second highest mountain in the world, K2. Located in Asia, K2’s geography and political situation make it a dangerous route to climb. Kaltenbrunner’s unstoppable appetite for adventure drove her to blaze a trail into high-altitude mountaineering, a field typically dominated by men. Students will be inspired by the world’s first woman to summit all 14 of the 8,000-meter (26,000 feet) peaks without supplemental oxygen.


    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 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and the topics (mountain climbing, adventure, geography) that she will discuss during the show. Use the ideas after the show to extend the learning.


    Before the Show

    • Have students review Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab on this page. 
    • Download and print the provided map or use the MapMaker Interactive to explore the area in which Gerlinde’s work takes place.  
    • Learn about the avalanches that the speaker will describe using the provided video, Avalanches 101. Have students work independently or in small groups to create presentations or models about avalanches, using what they learned from the video.
    • Compare the original ascent of K2 to Kaltenbrunner’s trek. Discuss similarities and differences with students, with an emphasis on technological advancement. Review the article This Day in Geographic History 1954: Climbers Summit K2. Have students conduct additional research about this expedition, with a focus on equipment and food. Ask them to compare this expedition to Kaltenbrunner’s expedition after the program. 
    • 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 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. 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 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner shared. Ask: What role did place play in Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner’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 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner 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 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner talk about today? In what ways does Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner 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 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
    avalanche Noun

    large mass of snow and other material suddenly and quickly tumbling down a mountain.

    Encyclopedic Entry: avalanche
    elevation Noun

    height above or below sea level.

    Encyclopedic Entry: elevation
    mountaineer Noun

    someone who climbs mountains.

    oxygen level Noun

    amount of oxygen in a specific environment, usually used as an indicator of that environment's ability to sustain life.

    peak Noun

    the very top.

    Sherpa Noun

    people and culture native to the Himalayan region of Nepal and China, who often serve as mountaineer guides and porters on mountain-climbing expeditions.

    summit Noun

    highest point of a mountain.

    valley Noun

    depression in the Earth between hills.