A powerful example of the relationship between humans and the natural world lies in the breath — the action of inhaling oxygen produced by the natural world and using it to fuel our lives. In observance of World Breathing Day, April 11, 2022, you can explore relevant resources and activities in my ArcGIS StoryMap “One Breath at a Time,” embedded below, then join me on a journey through the anatomy of our lungs and how they connect us with the entire Earth. Continue reading The Whole Earth Breathes: Connections to Explore on World Breathing Day
Educator Asma Mustafa wrote this post. When I was younger, I listened to Radio Monte Carlo. At the time, I didn’t understand the broadcasts, because I didn’t know English. When I moved from Saudi Arabia to Gaza at 14 years old, I decided to learn more. Listening to songs and watching movies in English made me dream of speaking English myself. My family wanted me … Continue reading Stone Soup and Mystery Calls: Bringing the World to My English Learners
This post is transcribed from an interview with educators Debbie Holman and Nicole Orswell. Next year we’ll be teaching in a new middle-high school designed to encourage project-based learning (PBL). So, when given the opportunity to run a small PBL cohort this year, we thought: Why not give it a try? Let’s dip our toes in and share what we learn with the rest of … Continue reading Teaching a PBL Unit on Water Transformed Our Students’ Learning
On Tuesday, March 8, at 1 p.m. ET, join National Geographic for a 30-minute Virtual Field Trip that celebrates Women’s History Month alongside four intrepid female Explorers. We’ll travel to the Ganges River in India with an environmental engineer to examine the plastic pollution crisis. Then, two Explorers will take us into their world of conservation and share insights from co-publishing a children’s book about … Continue reading Join Us March 8 for Our Next Virtual Field Trip: “Women Pushing Boundaries”
Dr. William Anderson wrote this post. I live in Colorado, which is consistently ranked one of the most active states in the U.S. In 2020 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 82 percent of Colorado residents reported exercising during their leisure time in the preceding month. Colorado has at least 39,000 miles of trails, thousands of miles of rivers, and dozens … Continue reading I’m a Black Educator With an Explorer Mindset. But It Wasn’t Always That Way.
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 … Continue reading Experience Mount Everest Like Never Before
Once we see the visual, reality hits and the story unfolds. Then we can do something about it. Maps help people better understand their physical space so we can digest it visually then think about it critically. Now that I have maps as tools for understanding what happened to Little Africa and how history touched not only my own family but also my community, I can put them to use. I can use these maps to honor the legacy of Little Africa and to ignite conversation in my community about how not to perpetuate similar violence now. Holding a map in our hand can be the difference between causing harm and undoing it. Continue reading Maps Are a Tool to Understand the Past—and Shape the Future
Hip-hop was our vehicle for exploring universal issues, beginning with learning about storytellers and leaders like Phyllis Wheatley and Muhammad Ali and eventually through engaging with our community about issues the Young Prodigy’s felt, understood, or lived. Because our foundation was letting students lead their own learning, when authentic opportunities arose for community engagement, we could take advantage of them or even create them for ourselves. Young Prodigy’s speak with policymakers and community leaders regularly now because their own learning has led them there. The community benefits from their engagement as much as they do. Continue reading Exploring Through Hip-Hop: A Win-Win for My Students and Me
The key to starting a successful outdoor education program, according to educator Bill Bagshaw, is to capture students’ enthusiasm. Teachers must create a “long sales pitch where you are promoting it and how much fun it is,” he said. If you’re able to organize field trips, that can be a good strategy: “That really sells the program, and you can then work to build it up. Once that has been done, you can add some things, like research projects.” Continue reading How This Outdoor Educator Drew a VIP Visit From Parks Canada
I first learned about the history of tea cakes from a book called Christmas Gift, by Charlemae Rollins, about how enslaved people were allowed to cook certain things at Christmastime, and one of those recipes was a tea cake. Tea cake recipes were passed by word of mouth because our ancestors couldn’t read or write; they were forbidden from learning, of course. They didn’t have measuring cups or spoons, but they were able to create the recipes by word of mouth with loose measurements. Continue reading Tea Cakes and Black History: Reclaiming a Legacy
“We have delighted in discovering slugs underneath oak leaves, muskrats surfacing in local ponds and swimming to shore, and migrating geese establishing nesting grounds,” kindergarten educator Abi Henneberry told me. “Once, we discovered very active, fearless voles in the green space surrounding a local storm pond. They had created holes and tunnels in the grasses we had passed many times, and they were jumping everywhere. This was a tremendous opportunity for children to appreciate their place as visitors in another species’ world.” Continue reading Why Abi Henneberry Takes Her Class Outside Each Day
“I have always looked for opportunities to get students outside,” Xena Biffert told me. Xena is a district science consultant in Alberta, Canada, where we both live, and previously taught kindergarten and grades three through six. When she started bringing her own classes outdoors, it required her to think differently. “As I began taking students outside more, I really needed to reconsider the way I planned,” she said. “I started to do a lot of backward planning.” Continue reading How to Get Students Outside? Try Backward Planning
My recommendation to elementary school teachers interested in enhancing their students’ empathic capacities is to begin with a deep and meaningful study of “self.” Explicitly teach your students how to identify and name their own emotions and associated sensations. Support your students as they begin to consider the cognitive, affective, and perceptual perspectives of their peers within your classroom. With time, widen the lens to consider multiple points of view across local, regional, and global scales. Finally, expand to include a multispecies perspective. Continue reading Teaching Empathy: From Me to We
Throughout the ups and downs of the past year, educators persevered and focused on inspiring learners’ curiosity and exploration, even as they themselves were navigating uncharted territory. As we look back on 2021, their optimism and dedication make us hopeful about what lies ahead in education. Here are just 10 of the countless exploration-minded educators who made an impact on young people, their fellow educators, and the planet over the past year. Continue reading There Are Many Ways to Explore. Just Ask These 10 Trailblazing Educators
Participants in my master’s degree study expressed confidence in delivering lessons on climate change even though they admitted to limited exposure while they were students. Now that it is a requirement for social studies teachers in Jamaica to teach global climate change, I see it as the perfect opportunity to engage my colleagues about climate change education—and recommend to them the “Teaching Global Climate Change” course that made such a difference for me! Continue reading My Country Added Climate to the Curriculum. Now the Real Work Starts
While teaching about the civil rights movement must not be limited to a single day or month of the year, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day may provide educators an opportunity to dive deeper into the life and legacy of the reverend and activist. With the federal observance coming up on Monday, Jan. 17, here are five creative ideas to use with your students. Continue reading Build On MLK’s Legacy With Your Students: Here Are Five Creative Ways
Although my COVID-19 Remote Learning Emergency Fund project did not launch as I had intended, it was still a success! Through all the challenges, I found a way to prioritize the needs of my students, accepting them, their circumstances, and the emotional state in which they showed up each day. Foremost, I met a humble man who graciously gave the gift of his time to help me navigate through the rough sea of life. Continue reading Breathe Like a Warrior: The Profound Lesson I’m Taking Into 2022
When virtual exploration is structured along inquiry-based lines, student curiosity becomes the driver, allowing for choice and interest to guide learning. Using a broad, open-ended question like “How do monuments communicate meaning?” and allowing students choice as they explore virtually helps them learn how natural and cultural landmarks convey meaning. These great resources will get you started teaching with virtual tours. Continue reading Virtual Tours Are Taking Off. Here’s How to Integrate Them Into Your Teaching
Fearless. Committed. Innovative. Impact-driven. These words describe a group of young people who refuse to accept the status quo. They’re breaking barriers, using their voice for change, and introducing transformative ideas to their communities. We’ve selected 25 of these audacious changemakers—between 16 and 25 years old—to join our cohort of 2021 Young Explorers. Continue reading Meet the Young Leaders Inspiring Global Change
The 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Challenge for Restoring Our Ocean, co-hosted by Esri and the National Geographic Society, encouraged high school students, college students, and individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 to create impactful stories that illuminate our ocean’s pressing problems, offer solutions, and inspire change. Explore our six winners below. Continue reading Restore Our Ocean With the 2021 ArcGIS StoryMaps Ocean Challenge Winners
The planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on December 22 provides educators and students the opportunity to be part of an amazing wave of collaboration, innovation, and exploration. It offers the chance to experience a moment in time that will likely encourage students across the world to create their own space path. There are so many ways for educators, students, and communities to be a part of the JWST mission. Continue reading Engage and Inspire With These 4 Resources on the Webb Space Telescope
In October, the National Geographic Society brought together 31 youth from 14 countries around the world for a virtual Photo Camp focused on the theme of ocean connections. We talked to three Photo Camp students to learn how the experience helped them develop their storytelling skills and empowered them to use their voices to make an impact. Morgan Dethlefsen is from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Ciara Ratum is from the island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi, and Parwat Singh is from the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Continue reading The Ocean Separates These Young Storytellers. It’s Also What Connects Them.
The students decided they wanted to build connections to the local land through discussions with Indigenous elders, community members, authors, and science experts. They wanted to help others connect with nature and one another. And they were curious enough to find ways to make this happen. Continue reading Finding Hope in My Fifth Graders’ Podcast Project: A Reflection
The great news is that MapMaker was recently updated and features some incredible new tools students can use for exploration. Using MapMaker in the classroom is an easy lift to allow students to glimpse the tools of a geographer and begin to use them on their own. Teachers do not have to be fluent in mapmaking or technology to use MapMaker. In addition, using MapMaker provides an opportunity to talk about the role of cartographers and potential careers involving these skills. Continue reading “A Field Trip Anywhere”: Try This MapMaker Project With Your Students
I loved and appreciated the insights that students shared with me through their Story of Place assignments. Fast-forward to this September: we were back in the classroom full-time, and I wanted to transform the project into something more tangible. Continue reading How My Geography Class Used Tins to Tell the Story of Place
Do you want to connect with a global community of educators while transforming your teaching practice? If so, National Geographic’s free online courses for educators may be the perfect opportunity for you. Six of our courses are paced and cohort-based, with a limited number of sections per year. Enrollment for winter 2022 is open now, and the courses begin on January 19. Continue reading Advance Your Learning Journey With These Newly Reopened Courses
Innovation. It’s an idea central to the work of National Geographic Young Explorer Ilias Psyroukis. After becoming interested in space in high school, Ilias, a native of Greece, co-founded the nonprofit organization SPIN – Space Innovation, which educates young people about space and supports them in making and launching their own satellites. Continue reading Next Stop: Outer Space. How Innovation Fuels Young Explorer Ilias Psyroukis
I believe it is essential that educators interweave climate literacy into all contents. We need to respect and be responsible for our world. We can do this by recognizing we are all leaders and problem solvers and by helping young people see themselves as capable of solving this crisis. They can make a difference, but we need to empower them. That is my role. Continue reading I Saw the Arctic Up Close. Now I’m Using It to Teach Math.
Three storytellers shared unique insights from their experiences as Native Americans in the National Geographic Virtual Field Trip: Native American Stories. We traveled to New Mexico where a dedicated conservationist reinvents maps through the Zuni Map Art Project. Then, we visited the Flathead Reservation in Montana where a photographer challenges stereotypes through journalism. And finally, we took a quick trip to Ontario where a 20-year-old artist … Continue reading Virtual Field Trip: Native American Stories
Uncovering history is a form of social justice and studying history allows one to make better decisions for their community, city, state, and the world at large. Having a platform to tell our stories our way is a revolutionary act that creates powerful ripple effects of change. Our hope is that this work will inspire leagues of educators and young people to study, uncover, and tell critical stories of justice that have been lost or neglected. Everyone is a storyteller and everyone has an impactful story to share with the world. In the work of social justice, we each must reinvent ourselves as storytellers who have nothing to lose so we can be effective at pushing change forward. Continue reading Black Oklahoma: Tearing down bridges that white supremacy built
Explore outer space with this National Geographic Virtual Field Trip! Meet an astrophysicist searching the stars for distant planets, a nonprofit founder making space accessible to young people, and the co-creators of a new solar system graphic that appears in National Geographic magazine. Originally airing live on Wednesday, September 29 at 1 p.m. ET, this Virtual Field Trip is available now on YouTube. The Virtual … Continue reading Next Virtual Field Trip Destination? Our Solar System and Beyond!
This year’s summer intern class brings rich insights and experiences to the National Geographic Society. We gathered five of its members to discuss their passion for social change and share lessons for other young people seeking to make a positive impact in their communities. The conversation that follows, in which these youth leaders reflect on their storytelling, community-building, and other work on social change, has … Continue reading “Investing in Young People Is Investing in the Future”: 5 Youth Leaders Talk Social Change
I love my city. I’m sure you love yours just as much and feel like your community holds the same importance, whether you live in America or somewhere else in the world. And it does, as do the people who live within it. This is the essence of #2892MilestoGo: Take your step to tell the stories within your community that deserve to be heard. Continue reading How We Tell Stories Will Shape Our History, Our Land, and Our People