Visit present-day Morocco and travel back through time with paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim to hear how he and his team discovered a prehistoric monster bigger than T. Rex. The largest known predatory dinosaur, Spinosaurus had spike-shaped teeth, a body more than 15 meters long (50 feet), and unique adaptations to help it survive. Explore the dangerous Cretaceous Era habitat that Spinosaurus called home. Students will be captivated by the amazing story of how this dinosaur was found, lost, and found again.

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 Nizar Ibrahim and the topics (dinosaurs, paleontology, geology) that he will discuss during the show. Use the ideas after the show to extend the learning.


Before the Show

  • Have students review Nizar Ibrahim’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 Nizar Ibrahim’s work takes place.  
  • 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

  • Modify the provided Adaptations: Changes Through Time activity with students. In addition to learning about pterosaur adaptations in step 3, discuss the adaptations Spinosaurus had. Then, in step 4 of the activity, have students compare the adaptations of one pterosaur to Spinosaurus’s adaptations. 
  • Use the provided Explorer Comparisons worksheet and have a class discussion to help students make connections between themselves and Nizar Ibrahim. 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 Nizar Ibrahim shared. Ask: What role did place play in Nizar Ibrahim’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 Nizar Ibrahim 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 Nizar Ibrahim talk about today? In what ways did Nizar Ibrahim 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 support the speaker’s work or explore like him in your day-to-day life. Ask: What, if any, call to action did the speaker ask you to make? What could we explore as a group? How can we work on it together as a group?

a modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence. An adaptation is passed from generation to generation.


having to do with water.

Cretaceous period

145 million to 65 million years ago. The period ended with extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals.


time period.


area that has been dug up or exposed for study.


remnant, impression, or trace of an ancient organism.


the study of fossils and life from early geologic periods.


animal that hunts other animals for food.