A rocket scientist and engineering activist, Shah Selbe has swum with sharks in the Pacific and been charged by elephants in Botswana. These experiences deepened his love for nature and led him to invent cutting-edge conservation drones and sensors that are saving the environment—on land and in the ocean—from poachers and pollution.

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 Shah Selbe and the topics (STEM education, engineering, technology, conservation) 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 Shah Selbe’s biography and portfolio using the links in the Explore More tab on this page.

  • Download and print the provided map of Angola, or use the MapMaker Interactive, to explore the areas where Shah Selbe works. When using MapMaker Interactive, use the Ocean Base Map to explore the underwater world in which Shah Selbe works.

  • Have students read the Data Drones article provided. Lead a class discussion about the pros and cons of using drones in data collection. After reading, ask: How has drone technology changed science? What could be improved about the use of drones in data collection? Have students develop and present a project in which they would need to use drones for data collection.

  • Read The Rocket-Scientist Environmentalist article in the Explore More tab to give students more information about the work Shah Selbe does between science and nature.

  • Engage students in exploring engineering in the environment by using the provided Engineering Inspirations from Nature activity.

  • Involve students in the ways in which Shah Selbe use the engineering process to solve problems he encounters in the field provided in the resource Eye in the Sky Challenge.

  • Look at the Into the Okavango website and watch the Okavango Delta video in the Explore More tab to see how Shah Selbe has helped track and collect data while in the field.

  • 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 Shah Selbe. 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 Shah Selbe shared. Ask: What role did place play in Anand Varma’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 Shah Selbe 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 Shah Selbe talk about today? In what ways does Shah Selbe 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?


unmanned aircraft that can be guided remotely.


person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).


the art and science of building, maintaining, moving, and demolishing structures.


instrument that receives a signal and transmits data about that signal, such as data on light or heat.