This lists the logos of programs or partners of NG Education which have provided or contributed the content on this page. Program NG Live

  • Photography, writing, video, and mapping, amongst other forms of digital media, all have one major thing in common: they all tell stories. Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of sharing information, and today, explorers and individuals alike continue to utilize stories as a powerful tool to engage others. Photographer Steve Winter, filmmaker Bryan Smith, and zoologist Lucy Cooke, are only a few of the explorers who use storytelling to share their experiences and teach us about our worlds. With each story, a new mission emerges, a passion comes to life, and we are inspired to explore in new ways.

    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 introduce students to modern day storytellers and the topics (science, conservation, wildlife, geography) that the speaker 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 Steve Winter’s and Bryan Smith’s biographies using the links in the Explore More tab on this page.

    • Have students read the provided information about World Storytelling Day. Ask: What is the importance of storytelling to different parts of the world? What is the importance of oral history? How has storytelling changed over time?

    • Introduce the idea of digital storytelling with the provided profile of zoologist Lucy Cooke and ask: How does she introduce a modern form of storytelling? What are the benefits of this?

    • Engage students with the provided Role of Images in Storytelling activity. Consider opening up the prompt to including writing, filmmaking, and mapping as alternate forms of storytelling.

    • Watch the Steve Winter: On the Trail of the Tiger video in the Explore More tab to familiarize students with the work that Steven Winter has done to storytell with photography.

    • Introduce students to the National Geographic Instagram page through the link on the Explore More tab. Use the images to have a class discussion about the ways an image can tell a story without words. Ask: What kind of story does this photo tell? How does a caption change your understanding of the image?   

    • Have students read the National Geographic PROOF article on David Doubilet. Lead a class discussion about how photography can teach us about places we’ve never been.  

    • Engage students further with Emerging Explorers geostory, found in the Explore More tab. Use this tool to illustrate different types of storytelling formats used by National Geographic Explorers. Ask: Are some methods more effective than others? Beyond the method used, what are other platforms of storytelling that the explorers could have used?

    • 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 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. 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 Anand Varma. 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 the storytellers shared. Ask: What role did place play in the storytelling? 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 they 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 the storytellers talk about today? In what ways do these storytellers demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in their 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
    digital media Noun

    electronic methods of communication.

    digital story Noun

    fictional or non-fictional narrative told through the use of media such as photos, maps, video, and audio recordings.

    oral history Noun

    information obtained by interviewing and recording the memories of people who experienced an event.