More people have orbited the Earth than hiked the Grand Canyon from end to end. Join writer Kevin Fedarko and photographer/filmmaker Pete McBride as they share the struggle and beauty of their estimated 750-mile walk through one of our planet’s most spectacular places. Students will learn about the unique geology of this immense landscape as well as the threats facing this American icon.
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 Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride and the topics (adventure, conservation, geography, photography) that they will discuss during the show. Use the “After the show” ideas to extend the learning after the event has ended.
Before the Show
Have students review Pete McBride’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab.
Build students understanding of the physical geography and geology of canyons by asking them to read the canyon encyclopedic entry. Teach them about the National Park Service and protecting land with the article Grand Canyon Becomes a National Monument and the National Park Service Grand Canyon website.
Have students read the conservation encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about different kinds of conservation techniques. After reading, ask: How are different types of conservation connected to one another? Can conservation be good and bad?
Engage students in observation and research techniques with the Rivers of the Americas activity provided. After the activity, let students explore the Hiking the Grand Canyon website that guides them on the trek through the canyon with Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride, and the images on Pete McBride’s web page to familiarize students with his work.
Help students better understand protected lands in the United States with the activity Protected Land Areas. After the activity, ask students to research the Grand Canyon and write a short paper on how it was protected.
Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the program they will attend and, who the speaker is, and offer a brief description of the speaker’s topic(s). 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 their 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. Have each student share a question and answer with the class.
Download and print the provided Five Ws Chart. Have each student bring their copy to the matinee program and take notes. Have students share and discuss their notes after the show.
After the Show
Use the Explorer Comparisons worksheet and have a class discussion to help students make connections between themselves, Kevin Fedarko, and Pete McBride. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms with which 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 Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride shared. Ask: What role did place play in Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride’s story? Why was location important to the story? How did the characteristics of the place influence the story? Note: You may need to introduce the concept of place for your students before they can answer and discuss these questions.
Discuss and define any unfamiliar terminology that the speaker used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Kevin Fedarko or Pete McBride 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 the 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 Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride talk about today? In what ways do Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride 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 speakers’ work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did the speakers 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 adventure Noun
exciting or unusual experience.
deep, narrow valley with steep sides.
Encyclopedic Entry: canyon conservation Noun
management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.
Encyclopedic Entry: conservation estimate Verb
to guess based on knowledge of the situation or object.
study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.
Encyclopedic Entry: geography geology Noun
study of the physical history of the Earth, its composition, its structure, and the processes that form and change it.
Grand Canyon Noun
large gorge made by the Colorado River in the U.S. state of Arizona.
event or symbol representing a belief, nation, or community.
the geographic features of a region.
Encyclopedic Entry: landscape national monument Noun
federal land set aside to protect objects of scientific and historical interest.
national park Noun
geographic area protected by the national government of a country.
National Park Service Noun
U.S. federal agency with the mission of caring "for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage."
path of one object around a more massive object.
physical geography Noun
study of the natural features and processes of the Earth.
area having unique physical and human characteristics.
dramatic and impressive.
journey, especially across difficult terrain.
one of a kind.