Many top photographers working with National Geographic started out as scientists! This unique background allows them to reveal wildlife and our natural world in surprising and powerful ways. Molecular biologist-turned-photographer Prasenjeet Yadav combines his experience in research with his photography skills to highlight natural history and science stories in Asia. And Anand Varma has developed innovative techniques to create stunning images of creatures whose details are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Join these National Geographic Explorers for stories on the intriguing intersection of science and photography.

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 Anand Varma, Prasenjeet Yadav, and the topics (biology, biodiversity, fieldwork, photography, conservation) that they 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 Anand Varma’s biography and Prasenjeet Yadav's biography

  • Have students read the Biodiversity encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about different kinds of biodiversity. After reading, ask: What do we know about biodiversity? Why is biodiversity important? Then, have students read the field work encyclopedic entry. Ask: How is field work connected to biodiversity? Optional: if time allows, engage students in exploring the biodiversity of their own local environments using the Mapping Biodiversity activity (45 min).

  • Listen to National Geographic storytellers discuss what storytelling means to them and why they think it is important with the video The Power of Stories (3 min). Continue that conversation by asking your students the same questions from the video ​What does storytelling mean to you? Why do you think storytelling is important? Optional: if time allows, extend this conversation with the activity The Power of Images in Storytelling (90 min). 

  • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce ​the ​Scientific Exposure ​student matinee, and offer a brief description of science photography. 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. After the show they can fill in the What I Learned column.

  • Consider using the graphic organizer collection to help your students continue to organize their questions and knowledge before, during, and after the program. For example, you could:

    • 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.

    • Distribute a Explorer Comparisons worksheet to help students make connections between themselves and the presenters. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms with which they are unfamiliar. They can begin filling the worksheet out before the show, but most of it will need to be done during the show or afterwards.

During the show:

  • Have students take notes and use their graphic organizers. Help keep them focused on Prasenjeet & Anand's presentation.

After the show: 

  • Use the Explorer Comparisons worksheet to have a class discussion. Help students make connections between themselves and the presenters. Have students share the notes that they took during the show. Talk about the attitudes and skills listed and how students demonstrate them in their everyday lives.

  • Discuss the stories and images Prasenjeet and Anand shared. Ask: Which stories and images stood out to you? Why? What do you think made those images and stories so compelling? Connect your discussion back to the The Power of Stories video and/or The Power of Images in Storytelling activity you did before the show.

  • Review the continents, countries, or areas that Anand and Prasenjeet presented. Ask: What continents, countries, or areas do the speakers work in? Have younger students imagine that these places were characters in the stories that they shared. Ask: What role did place play in Anand & Prasenjeet's stories? 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 was used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Anand and Prasenjeet 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: In what ways do Anand Varma & Prasenjeet Yadav 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 Anand and Prasenjeet's 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?

​Related professional development opportunities for educators: