National Geographic Xpeditions Activities
Created by National Geographic, this diverse collection of activities illuminates various aspects of geography, science, and social studies through hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences. Every Xpeditions activity is standards-based and enriched by additional resources, including maps, stories, games and other interactive features, as well as links to more information. The dozens of activities in the collection span a wide range of topics, from dinosaurs and the ancient world to multimedia storytelling and community development to nature exploration in one’s own backyard. Given such variety, and the user-friendly presentation, these curriculum resources are very well suited to afterschool settings.
Geography, Science, Social Studies, Multimedia/Digital Literacy
Language Arts, Art/Drama/Music, Multicultural Understanding, Life & Social Skills, Parent & Community
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Publication Date: 2001–2008
Xpeditions activities engage young people as problem-solvers and adventurers. Each activity is presented as a mission for the learner; they are provided background information about the topic, links to research, and steps to follow in their investigation. As part of the process, individuals are asked to reflect on what they’re learning and cap off the experience with a creative project (i.e., art, writing, craft). They’re also encouraged to take action in their families or communities, building on their work. Note that in the planned redesign of the Web site, resources will include additional instructional support for educators.
- Activity Types: Sequenced activities, hands-on learning, online research
- Materials/technology required: Varies—typically, a computer with Internet access. In some cases, multimedia software is desirable or required.
- Program Length/Duration: Activities range from short- to long-term projects.
- Special considerations: Some of the activities as written depend on exploration outdoors and/or information-gathering in the neighborhood. These activities may be pursued as part of a field trip or might otherwise be adapted for use at an afterschool program site.
The developers have created activities that ground research and exploration of geography concepts in a real-world context. Engaging young people as investigators and cultural observers and asking them to leverage technology tools as part of their learning process empowers them to make meaning, and builds their academic and 21st century skills.
A key component of the activity descriptions is a feature that addresses learning extensions and ways to adapt the resource. In this section, the developers explain how educators can vary the activities for age-appropriateness, and include a note to parents regarding how they can help their children with each activity in particular and with the study of geography more generally.
Consideration of Special Student Populations
The content of the activities emphasizes multicultural understanding, encouraging discussion and reflection on cultures within one’s community and beyond.