Explorer Series: 20 Activities for Trotting Around the Globe

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 9 years old.

Take students globetrotting with activities from PBS LearningMedia. From Antarctica to the Farallon Islands, these resources offer students a window to the world by spotlighting cities and customs from around the globe. PBS LearningMedia allows you to search, download and create folders to support learning anytime, anywhere! Sign up for a free account for full access to over 120,000 educational resources.

Antarctica | Video | Grades PreK-12
In this video, trek to Antarctica to investigate life south of the polar circle. Along the way dive in the majestic kelp forests of Patagonia and meets a massive jellyfish. The accompanying lesson plan reviews the pelagic, benthic and sea ice realms of the Southern Ocean.

Global Learning & Awareness | Collection | Grades K-12
Explore why learning about the international community matters. Through videos, images, background essays, and lesson plans, learn about major global issues, including education, global conservation and environmentalism, global health, and human rights, designed to foster empathic understanding of the lives of youth around the globe and enhance U.S. student’s own understanding of their role in the world.

Around the Globe: France | Collection | Grades K-12
Travel to France with an assortment of resources including essays, lesson plans, images, and videos. Examine French history, society, and culture, as well as the lives of young people in France today. Explore France’s geography and landscape, government, significant events in French history, culture (e.g. arts and architecture, cuisine, and fashion) and the history of U.S.-France relations. Take a deeper look at the French school system and experiences common to French children and teenagers, through first-hand accounts from French students.

Around the Globe: China | Collection | Grades K-12
The Around the Globe: China collection allows students to take a virtual trip to China to learn more about China’s society and culture, as well as the art of China through the centuries. Explore significant events in Chinese history, the history of U.S.-China relations, and the experiences of Chinese Americans through videos, images, documents, and lesson plans.


Social Studies/History through Music and Dance | Videos | Grades K-13+
Infuse some engaging art content into world cultures and global issues lessons with this collection of videos that focus on folk music and dance from around the globe that either maintains a tradition, or adapts customary traditions with contemporary styling.

Kenyan Classroom | Video | Grades 3-12
In this video from Wide Angle, Joab is a first-grader in a school in Kenya. There are 74 children in his class and only one teacher. Students sit on mats instead of chairs with desks, not only because desks are too expensive but also so that more children can fit into the classroom. The teacher says it is hard to teach the first grade students the alphabet and how to read and write because many have never been in a school before they entered her class.

Wish You Were Here | Interactive Map | Grades 4-12
This interactive map from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair curriculum challenges students to use postcards as primary sources for piecing together the story of the World's Fair and who visited it. Who came to the fair? Where did they come from? What impressed them the most? By examining the map and the texts of the postcards, student will assemble their own understanding of this historic event.

Farallon Islands | Interactive Map | Grades 5-13+
The Farallon Islands are centered in one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Explore the sights and history of the largest island for yourself with this interactive map. With this map, students Explore the Farallon Islands and understand that these islands serve as the breeding grounds for several seabirds and marine mammal species.

Up the Yangtze | Video | Grades 6-12
Nearing completion, China's massive Three Gorges Dam is altering the landscape and the lives of people living along the fabled Yangtze River. Countless ancient villages and historic locales will be submerged, and 2 million people will lose their homes and livelihoods. The Yu family desperately seeks a reprieve by sending their 16-year-old daughter to work in the cruise ship industry that has sprung up to give tourists a last glimpse of the legendary river valley. With cinematic sweep, Up the Yangtze explores lives transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history, a hotly contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle.

Peru | Video | Grades 6-13+
In this video from PBS News Hour students can travel to Peru, a country that has not always been associated with robust economic growth. But, thanks to demand from China for Peruvian raw materials, the mountainous South American country now has one of the region's strongest performing economies.

PRI’s The World Science Podcast | Collection | Grades 9-12
This collection of audio reports offers students opportunities to travel around the world. Destinations in this collection include a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India and potato farms in the Andes.

Taking Root in Kenya and Nairobi | Videos and Lesson Plans | 9-12
In this lesson, students will examine how Kenya’s history as a colonized nation has contributed to their challenges with deforestation. Historical footage documents the extensive clearing of the land, and the displacement of the tribes and tribal life, which took place during the period of British colonialism beginning in the 1880s. They will also learn that the clearing of forested land continued when Kenya returned to self-rule beginning in 1963. Students will then identify how this environmental degradation is related to other social, political and economic problems that affect the country’s marginalized citizens. action extends beyond environmentalism.

Melbourne Reborn | Video | Grades 9-12
Find out how the city of Melbourne, Australia revitalized its downtown community. By the mid-1970s, Melbourne was a dying city. People commuted in to work during the day, but downtown became a ghost town after 5 p.m. This episode explores how leadership and vision transformed the cityscape. Rob Adams, Melbourne's director of design and urban environment, gives a guided tour to show how the city first sought livability, then sustainability, and how the two are inextricably intertwined.

London: The Price of Traffic | Video | Grades 9-12
Learn how London's mayor has instituted policies that respond to the city’s growth while improving its livability and sustainability. Based on the economic principle of demand management, London’s congestion charge challenges the 20th century notion that cities should be designed around cars, and asks drivers to pay for access to public roads and parking spaces. Thanks to visionary municipal leaders like former Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, this plan is the core of a sweeping push to transform London into a transit-efficient and pedestrian-friendly megacity in time for the 2012 Olympic games.

Sustainable City, Colombia | Video | Grades 9-12
Examine efforts to make one of the most chaotic cities in the world more sustainable. Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, transformed one of the world's most chaotic cities into a model of civic-minded and sustainable urban planning. He reformed public transportation, added greenways, built mega-libraries and created the longest stretch of bike-only lanes in the world. But along the way, he met tremendous opposition from the very people he was attempting to help.

Trading Up – Ethiopia | Video and Lesson Plan | Grades 9-12
Wide Angle: "The Market Maker" provides an introduction to the challenges faced by the developing Ethiopian economy and the tragic consequences of its collapse in 1984. Ethiopian market reformer Eleni Gabre-Madhins discusses Ethiopia’s new nationwide agricultural commodities trading system and its vital importance not only to the nation’s economy, but also to the very survival of a population which relies on trade to distribute food from where it is stockpiled to where it is needed.

Waste Land: Brazil | Collection | Grades 9-13+
Use this collection to support viewing of the documentary film, Waste Land, by Lucy Walker, while engaging students in discussions about the power of art to transform society, and the connection between human dignity and human rights in Brazil. These lessons and discussions also provide a context for understanding and further investigating the factors that contribute to the staggering number of women and children living in poverty in Brazil, and other parts of the world. The activities foster discussion and inspire action around these topics within classrooms, youth-serving organizations, families and the broader community.

Petra | Video | Grades 6-12
Learn about ancient building techniques at the Nabatean city of Petra in this clip from Time Scanners. A structure called the "Unfinished Tomb" shows how Nabatean stone masons cut a platform at the top of the stone and carved the facades from the top down. At Petra's Monastery, Lidar scans help prove a building engineer's theory about how the Nabatean stone masons would have carved the Monestery façade.


Accessing Water at Herodium- Jerusalem | Video | Grades 6-12
Explore how the residents of Herodium, a palace built atop a manmade mountain in the middle of the sprawling desert, accessed water in this clip from Time Scanners. Using Lidar scanning technology and the expertise of a building engineer, the team reveals the exact underground positions of massive cisterns hewn out of solid rock.