• Michael “Nick” Nichols is obsessed with photography, and his drive and interest in wildlife and conservation have earned him the title “the Indiana Jones of Photography.” From the day he picked up a camera, he knew he wanted to pursue photography. His study of art, however, was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army’s photography unit during the Vietnam War. After his service, he completed his degree, and in 1996, Nick became a staff photographer for the National Geographic Society helping to create more than 25 stories during his tenure including Orphans No More (September 2011) and Redwoods: The Super Trees (October 2009).

    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 Nick Nichols and the topics (wildlife, conservation, geography, photography) that he 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 Nick Nichols’s biography using the link in the Explore More tab.

    • Download and print the provided map of Africa or use MapMaker Interactive, to explore the areas where Nick works.

    • 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?

    • Watch the video Time-Lapse Photography to familiarize students with the type of work photographers do to document species.

    • Engage students in observation and recording techniques with the Lion Crittercam activity provided.

    • Involve students in work like Nick Nichols’ with The Power of Images in Storytelling activity. After the activity, show students some of Nick Nichols’ photographs with the link to his website. Ask: What story do Nick Nichols’ images tell even without reading the articles they support? How can a photograph tell a story in a way words cannot?

    • 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 Nick Nichols. 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 Nick Nichols shared. Ask: What role did place play in Nick Nichols’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 Nick Nichols 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 Nick Nichols talk about today? In what ways does Nick Nichols 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
    conservation Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: conservation
    Crittercam Noun

    camera designed to be worn on a wild animal, providing a "critter-eye view" of the animal's environment.

    draft Noun

    mandatory military service. Also called the conscription.

    habitat Noun

    environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: habitat
    observation Noun

    something that is learned from watching and measuring an object or pattern.

    species Noun

    group of similar organisms that can reproduce with each other.

    technique Noun

    method of doing something.

    time-lapse photography Noun

    photographing of a slow and continuous process at regular intervals, for projection at a higher speed.

    Vietnam War Noun

    (1956-1975) civil war in Vietnam, with the North Vietnamese supported by pro-communist nations and the South Vietnamese supported by anti-communist nations, which resulted in a northern (communist) victory and a split nation.

    wildlife Noun

    organisms living in a natural environment.