• Wolves present an opportunity for educators to illuminate an interconnected world and the importance of our ability to reason about those interconnections, and to make far-reaching decisions that positively impact the world. Wolves are still persecuted by a mostly fearful and misinformed public. After an award-winning filmmaking career, Jim Dutcher turned his energies to a life-altering focus: the wolf. For six years, he and his wife Jamie lived in a tented camp bordering Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness and documented the social hierarchy and behavior of wolves. Learn more about the world the wolf faces today and workable solutions for its survival. Get a rare glimpse at the majestic animals that share the social characteristics of elephants and the DNA of dogs, and who play an important role in balancing ecosystems.


    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 Jim and Jamie Dutcher and the topics (wolves, science, geography) that they will discuss during the show. Use the ideas after the show to extend the learning.


    Before the Show

    • Have students review the Dutcher’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab on this page. 
    • Prepare your students using the gray wolf educator guide. 
    • Download and print the provided map or use the MapMaker Interactive to explore the area in which the Dutcher’s work takes place.  
    • Review the provided Wolves and People timeline with older students. Have students work independently or in small groups to create presentations about different sections of the timeline, using what they learned from their reading, and have them share with the class.
    • Have students read the conservation encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about conserving resources.
    • 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 Jim and Jamie Dutcher. 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 the Dutchers shared. Ask: What role did place play in the Dutcher’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 the Dutchers 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 the Dutchers talk about today? In what ways do the Dutchers demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in their 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
    Canidae Noun

    family of mammals that includes dogs, wolves, and foxes.

    conservation Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: conservation
    controversy Noun

    disagreement or debate.

    culture Noun

    learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

    ecosystem Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: ecosystem
    endangered species Noun

    organism threatened with extinction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species
    persecute Verb

    to harass or discriminate against, sometimes violently, on the basis of race, religion, or social and political beliefs.