Pete McBride has taken pictures from the cockpit of a WWI-vintage biplane, the underside of an iceberg, and has worked in more than 70 countries. McBride was named a "freshwater hero" by National Geographic for his work photographing and filming great rivers. Join him for unforgettable journeys down two of them. The Colorado, featured in his award-winning film "Chasing Water", flows through majestic landscapes but no longer reaches the sea. And the Ganges, India’s sacred waterway, which is revered as a god but polluted by the people who worship it.
Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for their upcoming National Geographic Live! student matinee experience. Use the resources before the show to introduce students to Pete McBride and the topics (geography, rivers, culture, conservation, freshwater) that he will discuss during the show. Use the resources after the show to extend the learning.
Before the Show
Have students review Pete McBride’s biography using the links provided in the Explore More tab on this page.
Download and print the provided maps of the United States and India, or use the MapMaker Interactive to explore the Colorado and Ganges Rivers, where Pete McBride works. Supplement these with the Freshwater Availability Map and the Colorado River Map located in the Explore More tab.
Have students read the river encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion on the interactions between humans and rivers. After reading, ask: In what ways do humans use rivers? In what ways have rivers shaped cultures? Ask students to create illustrations, maps, or other visuals to represent examples of these reciprocal relationships.
Watch The Mighty River That Dried Up video in the Explore More tab to familiarize students with Pete McBride’s unique storytelling method, which combines film, aerial imagery, and poetry. Afterward, have students discuss their impression of the short film. Ask students: What is the film’s message? How do you know? How was this message conveyed effectively or ineffectively? Based on the images you saw in the film, what are some of the reasons the Colorado River is running dry?
Discuss the ways in which water is used to generate energy using the activities The Role of Water in the Generation of Electricity and Hydroelectric and Geothermal: Benefits and Drawbacks.
Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the program they will attend and who the speaker is, and offer 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 Questions I Have and the right column 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. Have each student share a question and answer with the class.
Download and print the provided Five Ws Chart. Have each student bring a 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 Pete McBride. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms with which they are unfamiliar. After the presentation, have students share the notes 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, and areas that the speaker presented. Ask: Which continents, countries, and areas does the speaker work in? Have younger students imagine that these places were characters in the stories that Pete McBride shared. Ask: What role did place play in 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 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 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 Pete McBride talk about today? In what ways does 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 speaker’s work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did the speaker make? How can you implement any changes in your day-to-day life? What can we work on together as a group?
- National Geographic Environment: The Colorado River
- National Geographic Education: Freshwater Availability
- National Geographic Environment: Change the Course
- National Geographic Video: The Mighty River That Dried Up
- National Geographic Video: Behind the Scenes With Filmmaker Pete McBride
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry aerial photograph Noun
picture of part of the Earth's surface, usually taken from an airplane.
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 dam Noun
structure built across a river or other waterway to control the flow of water.
drainage basin Noun
an entire river system or an area drained by a river and its tributaries. Also called a watershed.
period of greatly reduced precipitation.
Encyclopedic Entry: drought freshwater Adjective
having to do with a habitat or ecosystem of a lake, river, or spring.
geothermal energy Noun
heat energy generated within the Earth.
hydroelectric energy Noun
energy generated by moving water converted to electricity. Also known as hydroelectricity.
Encyclopedic Entry: hydroelectric energy pollution Noun
introduction of harmful materials into the environment.
Encyclopedic Entry: pollution river Noun
large stream of flowing fresh water.
Encyclopedic Entry: river river system Noun
tributaries, mouth, source, delta, and flood plain of a river.
stream that feeds, or flows, into a larger stream.
Encyclopedic Entry: tributary water consumption Noun
water used in electricity generation that cannot be recycled or reused.
entire river system or an area drained by a river and its tributaries.
Encyclopedic Entry: watershed water table Noun
underground area where the Earth's surface is saturated with water. Also called water level.
Encyclopedic Entry: water table water use Noun
water used in electricity generation that can be recycled and reused.
water vulnerability Noun
threats to the supply of freshwater such as aquifer depletion, contamination from human and natural sources, and the effects of climate variability and change.