Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013

National Geographic Education

Explore the fascinating, wide world with multimedia resources

Subjects & skills
  • Science
  • Social Studies

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (7 Reviews)

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5 images

Pros: Quality content, superb videos, and detailed lesson ideas for thought-provoking exploration.

Cons: It's not personalizable, and there's no way to track past visits.

Bottom Line: It's a wonderful resource for anyone looking to learn more about science, geography, ecology, current events -- basically, the world we live in.

There are so many ways you can use this resource library, many of which are listed in the activity suggestions, resource guides, and lesson plans. If you're doing units on anything related to nature, geography, exploration, or world events, there're something for you here. You can also direct students to the site for homework help (encyclopedias and maps provide valuable reference information), research projects, or free exploration. Or, have kids play the enlightening online games and discuss the results in class. 

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National Geographic Education is a portal for National Geographic’s vast libraries of educational material suitable for kids. Hundreds of videos, photos, reference materials, activities, and games address a wide variety of nature- and world-themed topics. Pre-made learning collections offer units on animals, climate change, ecosystems, energy, migration, ocean, STEM, and weather.

The site doesn't require any login information; it's more of a place to find resources and information. Offerings and site views are slightly different based on which audience view you choose: teacher, informal educator, family, student, or kid. Everything is searchable by various options including audience, grade, resource type, and subject.

Amazing videos and mesmerizing photos of animal life, natural phenomena, world events and more give kids a first-hand look at the world and make learning come alive. They won't just passively read about stuff here; lesson plans, offline activity suggestions (art, scavenger hunts, and discussion questions), online games, and reference materials support learning in a variety of ways and give teachers creative ideas for constructing learning units. There's also an important and inspiring overall message encouraging kids to learn more about the world, becoming responsible, “geo-literate” citizens. This message is present in the educational materials and thought-provoking activities, like Global Closet Calculator.

Kids explore the interconnected and interdependent world of products by mapping where clothes come from, then follow a supply chain to make jeans or MP3 players, having to make important decisions along the way regarding the environment, workers' rights, and more. The mass of content can sometimes feel overwhelming, even more so with no way to track, personalize, or customize learning, but it's still an outstanding resource.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

It's filled to the brim with fascinating information, thought-provoking activities, and some fun online games. However, there's so much material that the layout does get a bit busy and can be overwhelming.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

With many ways to explore (videos, worksheets, research, activities, games) kids get an in-depth look at a wide variety of issues. The site also supports connections between online and offline exploration.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There's some guidance for best use but no way to personalize experiences or collect data on what kids have accomplished or learned.

Teacher Reviews

(See all 7 reviews) (7 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Vanessa S. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Whitehall Elementary School
Pittsburgh, United States
Take your kids outside of the classroom without leaving the classroom!
I love this website. It is so great to add into your teaching. I also love the breadth of the site. It is great to be able to incorporate different themes and cultures into our classroom. Many students don't get a chance to experience out of country opportunities and this is a great way for them too! I like that my higher students can use this as a way to enrich their learning on their own.
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