Fulbright-National Geographic Storyteller and environmental journalist Lilly Sedaghat hopes to change the way that we think about the products we buy through creative use of visual art and digital media. She’s traveled to Taiwan to look at their waste management system and the innovations they’ve made in plastic and electronic recycling. With her work, she hopes to bring transparency to the plastic recycling process in an effort to change the system for the better.

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 Lilly Sedaghat and the topics (plastic, geography, storytelling) that she 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 Lilly Sedaghat’s biography using the links in the Explore More tab on this page.

  • Download and print the provided maps of Taiwan, or use the MapMaker Interactive, to explore the area where Lilly Sedaghat works.

  • Have students read the “pollution” encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about different types of pollution. After reading, ask: What are some of the impacts of pollution on the environment? What are some of the impacts of pollution on humans? How does pollution, such as plastic or trash, generated here impact people who live elsewhere? What are some ways we can limit pollution?

  • Select an idea from the Going Green idea set to help students understand that they can make an impact on the environment both at home and at school.

  • As a class, investigate how our actions impact the planet with one of these activities: The Tremendous Travels of Trash (60 minutes), Mapping Our Human Footprint (30 minutes), and Perils of Plastic (60 minutes).

  • Need more resources on plastic pollution? Check out this collection!

  • 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 and Lilly Sedaghat. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms with which 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 Lilly Sedaghat shared. Ask: What role did place play in Lilly Sedaghat’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 Lilly Sedaghat 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 Lilly Sedaghat talk about today? In what ways does Lilly Sedaghat 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?


something new.


to study or examine in order to learn a series of facts.


person who reports and distributes news.


chemical material that can be easily shaped when heated to a high temperature.


introduction of harmful materials into the environment.


to clean or process in order to make suitable for reuse.

waste management

collection, disposal, or recycling of materials that people have discarded.