In Steve Winter's opinion, being a National Geographic photojournalist is the best job in the world. Despite being attacked by rhinos, stalked by jaguars, charged by a grizzly bear, and being trapped in quicksand. He did all of that to capturing the perfect image to tell a story that speaks for those that cannot speak for themselves. Listen as Steve shares his experience documenting threatened big cat species around the world and learn how by saving them, we can save ourselves.

Use the resources in this collection to prepare your students for their upcoming National Geographic Live student matinee experience. Use the “Before the show” ideas to introduce students to Steve Winter and the topics (wildlife, conservation, habitats, geography, photography)that he will discuss during the show. Use the “After the show” ideas to extend the learning after the event has ended.


Before the Show

  • Have students review Steve Winter’s biography using the links in the resource carousel.

  • Download and print the provided maps of Indonesia, Thailand, and India, or use the MapMaker Interactive, to explore the areas where Steve Winter works and the global range of big cat species.

  • Have students read the conservation encyclopedic entry. Lead a class discussion about different kinds of conservation techniques. After reading, ask: How are different types of conservation connected to one another? Can conservation be good and bad?

  • Watch one or all of the following videos to familiarize students with the work Steve Winter has done to document big cats: The Evolution of Big Cats (4:18), Save Ourselves by Saving Tigers (11:41), or On the Trail of the Tiger (27:19).

  • Engage students in observation and mapping techniques with the Big Cats and Their Habitats activity provided or find a better fit for you clas with the Big Cats in the Classroom collection.

  • Involve students in work like Steve Winter's with the provided Conservation and Big Cats activity. After the activity, show students some of Steve Winter's photographs and videos featured on his website. Ask: What are your ideas for how the National Geographic Big Cat Initiative could protect more threatened cat species and their habitats? Are there ways you would modify the practices that the Big Cat Initiative is undertaking to save more cats?

  • Provide each student with a KWL Chart. Introduce the program they will attend and, who the speaker is, and offer a brief description of the speaker’s topic(s). Have students fill out the What I Know and What I Want to Know columns of the KWL Chart. Have them fill out the What I Learned column after the show.

  • Use the graphic organizer collection to select a graphic organizer to help your students organize their questions and new knowledge before, during, and after the program. For example:

    • Download and print the T Chart. Have students label the left column with Questions I Have and the right column with Answers, and then conduct research about the speaker and their topic ahead of the program. Have students record answers to their questions during or after the program. Have students conduct research to complete any unanswered questions for homework. Have each student share a question and answer with the class.

    • Download and print the provided Five Ws Chart. Have each student bring their copy to the matinee program and take notes. Have students share and discuss their notes after the show.

After the Show

  • Use the Explorer Comparisons worksheet and have a class discussion to help students make connections between themselves and Steve Winters. Distribute the worksheet to students before the presentation and review the directions with them. Review any terms with which that they are unfamiliar with. After the presentation, have students share the notes that they took during the show. Have a class discussion about attitudes and skills and how students demonstrate them in their everyday lives. Have students record their personal examples on the worksheet.

  • Review the continents, countries, or areas that the speaker presented. Ask: What continents, countries, or areas does the speaker work in? Have younger students imagine that these places were characters in the stories that Steve Winter shared. Ask: What role did place play in Steve Winter's story? Why was location important to the story? How did the characteristics of the place influence the story? Note: You may need to introduce the concept of place for your students before they can answer and discuss these questions.

  • Discuss and define any unfamiliar terminology that the speaker used. Ask: What vocabulary words did Steve Winter use that were new to you? Invite volunteers to write the words on the board, and have the class define them as a group using the information they learned from the speaker or through research. If desired, have students record unfamiliar terminology during the show on one-half of a T Chart. Then, have them write the definitions on the other side following this class discussion.

  • Have a class discussion about the attitudes National Geographic explorers embody. Ask: What attitudes did Steve Winter talk about today? In what ways does Steve Winter demonstrate curiosity, responsibility, empowerment, and persistence in his work? Why do you think these attitudes are important for explorers? Students can use their Five Ws Chart for reference and a graphic organizer to organize their ideas.

  • Have a whole-class brainstorm on how students can make changes or support the speakers’ work. Ask: What, if any, call to action did the speaker make? How can you implement any changes in your day-to-day life? What can we work on together as a group?

Bengal tiger

large wild cat native to Southeast Asia.

Big Cats Initiative

program of the National Geographic Society that supports on-the-ground conservation projects, education, economic incentive efforts, and a global public-awareness campaign to protect big cats and their habitats.

camera trap

remote-activated camera that relies on changes in light or motion to automatically take a photo.


management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.


organism threatened with extinction.


ecosystem with large, flat areas of grasses.

grizzly bear

large mammal native to North America.


environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.


large spotted cat native to the Americas.


tropical ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.


person who hunts or fishes illegally.


endangered animals native to Africa with leathery skin and one or two upright horns on their snout.

Siberian tiger

endangered species native to far eastern Siberia.


group of similar organisms that can reproduce with each other.

threatened species

organism that may soon become endangered.


large cat native to Asia.

wildlife trafficking
poaching or other taking of protected or managed species and the illegal trade in wildlife and their related parts and products.