Calling All Student Explorers!

  • Jan 12, 2016

Expedition 2

DIRECTV and NatGeo Mundo are sending four lucky high school students on the adventure of a lifetime this summer. Encourage eligible students to apply today for their chance to go on a National Geographic Student Expedition of their choice!

It’s a dream for adventure enthusiasts, but a dream that’s now well within reach thanks to National Geographic Student Expeditions, a unique travel program offering students the opportunity to get out into the field with NatGeo photographers, scientists, and writers.

Through the NatGeo Mundo Explorer program, four deserving high school students (two from the U.S. and two from Latin America) will experience one of these fabulous Expeditions this summer—with exciting destinations around the world to choose from!

Share the video below with your students and encourage them to apply today. They just might find themselves on the all-expense-paid adventure of a lifetime, courtesy of DIRECTV and NatGeo Mundo Explorer.

Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2016. For more information, and to apply, visit our program web site.

To find out about other great opportunities and free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Where to Watch the Finals of the 2015 National Geographic Bee

  • May 15, 2015


And then there were ten—ten finalists, that is, culled from the more than fifty who proudly represented their states, territories or Department of Defense schools in the nation’s premiere geography competition. And now it’s time to crown a champion.

Looking for something fun and educational to watch on TV this week? Tune-in as the 10 finalists assemble in Washington, DC for the last round of the 2015 National Geographic Bee, moderated by journalist Soledad O’Brien.

It premieres tonight, May 15, at 8pm on National Geographic Channel (DIRECTV channel 276), and will be repeated Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD.

The program is also being carried by PBS. Check local listings.

The annual NatGeo Bee is open to students in grades 4-8. Do you know any young people who have what it takes to enter next year’s competition? Check out the early bird registration process.

And to find out about other great educational shows and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

The Forgotten Battle

  • May 07, 2015


Would it come as a surprise to you to learn that the United States and Japan fought a land battle in North America during World War II?

Since you’re most likely a history teacher, probably not. But you can safely assume that most people these days have no idea that land war in the Pacific Theatre included Alaska’s remote volcanic islands.

Exactly 72 years ago, in May of 1943, U.S. and Japanese forces fought for over two weeks for control of the Island of Attu, which the Japanese believed could be used as a staging point for a U.S. invasion of their homeland.

This Monday, May 11, at 6AM/5C, History Channel Classroom presents Save Our History: Alaska’s Bloodiest Battle, a documentary that chronicles this mostly overlooked chapter of WWII history in reverent detail. The program may be recorded and archived for classroom use for up to one year from air date, and teachers are invited to download a free study guide prepared for students in grades 6-12.

History Channel is DIRECTV channel 269.

For more background on the battle visit History’s dedicated web site, and click here for the free study guide.

And to find out about other great educational shows and resources, simply bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


Notches, Panhandles and Jogs

  • Oct 31, 2014


“Borders are stories, and the stories are great.” 
from How the States Got Their Shapes

As a little kid growing-up in New York City, I had one of those colorful wooden puzzle maps that depicted the unique characteristics of all 50 United States. Beyond fostering a fledgling desire to visit those wonderful places where buffalo roamed, or mighty locomotives thundered past desert cactus, it challenged me to recognize states by their shapes. Texas, California and Florida were easy. Once I ventured inland, though, things grew complicated.

It would be years before I’d learn that borders actually existed in the world outside my puzzle, and decades before I’d come to fully understand the various and sundry ways these lines have snaked and shifted before settling into what we now recognize as home.

In fact, it wasn’t until I watched History Channel’s How the States Got Their Shapes that I learned Las Vegas was once in Arizona!

Based on a book by playwright and screenwriter Mark Stein, this engaging and fact-filled documentary series explores how war, politics, commerce, social revolution and even natural disasters literally shaped our nation. Hosted by National Public Radio’s Brian Unger (pictured, above), the program is an ideal complement to history, geography, and social studies curricula.

It’s not a wooden puzzle, but it’ll have to do.

History Channel’s accompanying classroom guide includes pre-viewing activities, curriculum links, discussion questions and extended activities, along with a vocabulary section and lists of recommended books and web sites. These resources are available to educators free of charge.

The program may be recorded for use in the classroom, and may also be viewed online.

Upcoming airings of How the States Got Their Shapes include:

“Mouthing Off”
The diversity of America’s state borders is matched only by the diversity of our regional accents. This episode explores the history and social impact of sounding different across the United States.
Nov. 24 at 6am/5c on History Channel Classroom (ch. 269).

“Forces of Nature”
A look at how massive geological events helped shape the land that would become America. Did you know that an asteroid created the border for three states?
Dec. 29 at 6am/5c on History Channel Classroom (ch. 269).

For more educational fun, challenge students to test their knowledge with History Channel’s interactive “Place the State” game.

And to receive more information about great educational programming like this, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

 —Stephen Vincent D’Emidio