We have grown up watching interesting channels like National Geographic and Discovery. Their websites too contain great information anyone can benefit from. The amazing videos and images can be used as great educational tools. National Geographic has taken this to a whole new level and has added full work plans for teachers including worksheets, flash cards, interactive maps and much more!
Be a National Geographic Geo-Educator
According to the National Geographic site, “National Geographic has adopted the term geo-education to describe education about our world. A well-rounded geo-education provides young people with a fundamental understanding of how the human and natural worlds work at local, regional, and global scales.”
• Our worlds web of connections
Young people should understand how natural, social, and technological systems connect people and places, and they should understand how peoples actions influence these systems.
• The diversity of human perspectives
Young people should understand that culture and viewpoint are shaped by place and time, and they should understand the importance of addressing differences in perspectives in human interactions.
• Natural and cultural wonders
Young people should understand the richness of nature and of human culture, and they should understand the importance of natural and cultural treasures to our well-being.
• Decision-making and collaborative problem-solving
Young people should know how to use evidence systemically to make decisions, and they should know how to bridge perspectives to address differences.
To become a part of this all, what you have to do is just sign up on the National Geographic Education site and you are all set to go! I have recently volunteered at a nearby charity school and this is how I taught class 5 and 6 Geo-Education. I showed them a documentary about the Origin of this Earth and we discussed it. The children became interested in the Solar System and already knew about the 8 planets, so we studied about stars and comets instead. The resources provided by National Geographic are interesting and are in easy English. The resources are divided class-wise for ease. We then looked at the natural wonders of the world like the Mount Everest and our very own K-2. We also learned about our beautiful Kashmir Valley, world heritage Mohenjodaro and cultural wonder Khewra mines.
It is extremely necessary that we also know our part of the world. Wonderful posters and infographics regarding biodiversity in Pakistan are handed out free of cost in events conducted by WWF Pakistan and our Ministry of Environment. These are excellent to teach with. If you are teaching children about biodiversity in Pakistan do not forget to tell them about our very special endangered animals Snow Leopards and the Indus Blind Dolphin! They are rarely found in the rest of the world.
Conduct a Bioblitz
Bioblitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time, usually 24 hours. It is a collective effort to identify and know most of the species living around us whether it is a bird or plant species, an insect, a creepy reptile or a fungus. In turn it also makes children more environment loving. A bioblitz can take place in any area – urban, sub urban or rural. It can take place in an area as large as a national park or as small as a school yard.
A bioblitz can be done in 5 easy steps:
1. Make observation (what does it look like?)
2. Record observation (draw it out or take a picture)
3. Identify Species
4. Make a map
Map what you observed and where you observed it. Plants and animals depend on natural resources like land and water and other species. Maps that show how these are related can help protect our biodiversity.
5. Keep a count
Participate in Project Noah
Project Noah is a project supported by National Geographic and as the name suggests, it is a platform for recording and identifying species around the planet. Lets say during a bioblitz you recorded a species and you cannot find its name through a search engine. All you have to do is upload its picture and possibly a description of it and check the box saying Help me identify this specie and instantly qualified zoologists and botanists suggest its name for you.
What is really interesting is that I found an unusually large moth in my backyard in Islamabad and upon uploading its picture there I found out that that moth was also spotted in Ghana too and is a close relative of another similar looking moth found in North America. God knows what that moth was doing in my backyard but its a small world!
Project Noah serves as a great classroom tool and can be customized to teach children. Here too you can sign up for free and create and join Missions and earn badges on your profile!
Heres how it works…
Choose a name and category for your mission. Missions that focus on a specific category like “Arthropods” or “Birds” tend to be more successful, but you can also create a mission for “All Wildlife.”
Fill out the details and select the geographical area where your mission will take place. Keep in mind that your mission must fall within a radius of at most 300 miles (482 km).
Submit your mission and start getting people to join! You can have up to 3 missions active at the same time. Spread the word by sharing your missions dedicated web address through email, Twitter, and Facebook.
Guess what? Pakistan has its own mission too! And we invite all our great photographers, nature lovers, educators, professional and citizen scientists to upload any unusual spotting and contribute to collecting and protecting Pakistans biodiversity! Just take a picture, sign up, join mission Biodiversity Pakistan and upload the spotting. Dont forget to check Biodiversity Pakistan while uploading the photo. Here is the link: http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/628606004
Nat Geos Your Shot Challenge
Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional photographer take pictures and upload it on yourshot.nationalgeographic.com. This way you will not only become a part of the National Geographic Society but also receive feedback on your photos and your best shots can become a part of National Geographic Magazine! Interesting assignments with a 2-week deadline are also given to keep photographers engaged.
So what are you waiting for? Log in and upload those beautiful Pakistani landscapes hiding away in your laptop. Let the world see how beautiful our country is and promote its tourism!
Best of Luck!