Thursday, 16 July 2020

NatGeo Family Learning At Home Site - 'Be Inspired' Session Review with NatGeo Explorers

I'm sure you know how much we love science, so being asked if we'd like to take part in a 'Be Inspired' learning session online with NatGeo Explorers was right up our street. This is to demonstrate the type of content and experience on NatGeo's new platform, NatGeo Family, to help you and your children learn from home without any chance of getting bored. Even better, it's all FREE (although obviously if you subscribe to National Geographic, you can get more in-depth content over on the grown ups site). 

Our one hour workshop was over a lunchtime, held online via a meeting app. which we could just use as a guest. We received the invite and log in details by email the day before, so we were able to get ourselves ready and be there prompt for the 1pm start. 

NatGeo Explorers Be Inspired Session review Invitation with time and who'll be talking

The July National Geographic Magazine is a special Everest edition, and Sharkfest 2020 is about to start, so the NatGeo Explorers joining us were Yannis Papastamatiou (Shark Expert), Tom Matthews (Climate Scientist) and Dawa Yangzum Sherpa (Mountaineer).

After a short introduction, our first speaker was Yannis, Shark Expert. He shared videos alongside explaining what was happening. 
We learnt just how social sharks are. They communicate very well and very quickly, and have even been known to warn humans that they feel threatened. We think of sharks as solitary, but it's not true, and they can live in really big groups. 
The audience had lots of questions - and they were mostly the sort of really interesting questions that public ask! He has been bitten, but mostly he's okay interacting with sharks - he is an expert. He isn't aware of any vocal communication between sharks, but they communicate in many other ways, including chemical signals. 

Our next presenters were a real life explorers, mountain climbers and climate change experts, Dawa and Tom. They took part in an Everest mission together, placing weather stations and equipment at very high points on the mountain, to monitor climate change.
Dawa explained one of the hardest parts was that she had to bring large quantities of ice down from Everest, for scientists to study. 
The audience asked about the altitude, and Tom explained how hard it is to work in those conditions.  
The data which is collected from the Everest weather stations is available to the public real-time at natgeo/everest. It is transmitted several times a day, when possible, depending on the weather (ironic!). 

Closing end scene with snowy mountain backdrop  'thanks for coming'

We really enjoyed ourselves and learned lots! My 10 year old was fascinated by the sharks, and my 11 year old really became very interested in the mountain climbing. He had lots of questions he wanted to ask, but we knew we could look up the answers to most of them, and the audience asked really interesting questions anyway. It was a brilliant thing to feel part of.

Towards the end we noticed that the one question we did ask during the session had been answered in text by Yannis himself! A proud moment for my 11 year old - and a geography lesson too. Do you know where Fakaraval is? 

Yannis the shark expert answers our question

This July there are a whole host of activities to get involved with, including DIY activities at home, photography, sessions and interviews with real life adventurers, experts and explorers, and loads more... 

- Cloud watching activities. Get scientific and become weather detectives, or simply identify familiar shapes up above
- Learn about osmosis through salting vegetables in the kitchen
- Find out about incredible alien landscapes right here on Earth
- Discover how you can help save endangered animals every day
- Tasty tricks to teach your kids science at home
- Fact-Checking Animal Emojis—Here's What We Found

For more information, inspiration and to find all of the activities, head to NatGeo At Home education resources.  

About our explorers: 

Yannis Papastamatiou is a National Geographic Explorer and shark expert. He is an Assistant Professor at Florida International University where he co-runs the Predator Ecology and Conservation lab. Yannis studies the physiological and behavioral ecology of sharks, and uses this information to improve conservation efforts
Tom Matthews is a National Geographic Explorer and Climate Scientist who participated in an incredible single expedition to Mount Everest
Dawa Yangzum Sherpa is a trailblazing mountaineer and the first Nepali woman to be certified as an international mountain guide

Our session was free of charge and available to anyone. If you want to take part, then you can watch on You Tube, or register for a chance to be one of the people able to ask questions live. 


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