When we’re young, many of us learn that Mount Everest is the tallest peak on Earth. But how did it form, and when? What does it take to climb to the top? (Hint: expert Sherpa guides and supplemental oxygen play essential roles.) What is the current state of the mountain, and what might its future hold? Explore these questions—and more—through “Expedition Everest,” a new, interactive National Geographic StoryMap.
The StoryMap, which complements the National Geographic Museum exhibition “Once Upon a Climb,” brings educators and youth on an extraordinary journey to scale and study Everest. Inspired by the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet expedition, the StoryMap invites users to join a National Geographic team performing groundbreaking scientific work on the mountain, including assisting in mapping Base Camp and installing a weather station.
Users will hear directly from fellow expedition members across the StoryMap’s five chapters, which incorporate text, maps, photos, videos, and newly developed interactive learning opportunities. Together, these elements provide a truly immersive experience of Everest. The following overview can help you think through how to apply this resource with your learners:
Chapter One: The Mountain
Before climbing Everest and collecting data, you learn about the mountain—how it formed and what its unique characteristics are. You also begin to consider the challenges the environment will pose as you conduct your expedition. Maps, infographics, and photos help tell this story.
Chapter Two: The People
Next, you learn about the Sherpa people of the Himalaya and their special relationship with Everest. Many Sherpa are guides and fellow climbers. In the interactive activity “Talk to Your Team,” you hear glaciologist Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa speak a variety of Sherpa words and phrases, then you get a chance to practice them yourself and start building your vocabulary.
Chapter Three: Your Plan
Let’s put those critical thinking skills to work! In this chapter, you determine which gear to bring with you on the climb, how much supplemental oxygen you’ll need to get to the summit and back, which route to take up the mountain, and what time of year to do it. Don’t worry—you’ll have help along the way. This chapter includes three interactives to help you develop your plan, including an augmented reality activity that allows you to picture your route in 3D.
Chapter Four: Your Mission
You’ve made it to Everest! Your challenge now—should you choose to accept it—is to help create a detailed map of Base Camp; collect the world’s highest ice core; and set up the world’s highest weather station, ensuring it successfully transmits data back to headquarters. In the process, you learn about the skills and equipment necessary to perform science at altitude.
Chapter Five: Our Future
Your return to Base Camp provides an opportunity to analyze your work and consider deeper questions about the future of Mount Everest and all who rely on it. What have you learned? What recommendations would you make to protect the mountain and its climbers?
Featured image by Renan Ozturk