Exploring Multiple Perspectives

Exploring Multiple Perspectives

This tool prompts learners to consider issues and ideas critically from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. It can be used as a note-taking tool for Explorer presentations or as an analysis tool for learners considering their own issue.

Scroll below the resources for guidance on using these resources in your education work.


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Why Use This Tool

This tool prompts learners to critically consider issues and ideas from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. It can be used as a note-taking tool for Explorer presentations or as an analysis tool for learners considering their own issue.

When to Use This Tool

  • Stage(s) of Learning: Explore - Learners can use this tool to brainstorm questions and take notes as they learn. This activity is particularly helpful to help learners see the complexity of issues and problems and to help them identify interconnections.
  • Time: 15 - 40 minutes - This tool will require a few minutes to introduce, but provides guidance for focusing on and asking questions about content.
  • Audience: Ages 10 and up - Audiences of older children and adults can understand and use the disciplinary perspectives outlined in this tool.
  • Ease of Use: Moderate - This tool requires introduction and explanation. Once learners understand the tool, they can use it without support.
  • How to Use This Tool
  • Preparation: If possible, share the worksheet with any partnering educators or groups of learners ahead of time, so they can review the perspectives and guiding questions. As you prepare your own presentation materials, consider how you might answer questions about the perspectives shown.


  1. Display the image from the first page of the worksheet. Note that even though Explorers may have one area of expertise, they try to look at every issue through a variety of geographic perspectives. These perspectives help Explorers see connections, understand relationships, and ask important questions to make sure they are seeing all parts of an issue.
  2. Distribute the Exploring Perspectives worksheet and review the perspectives listed.
  3. Encourage learners to take notes on evidence and information from each perspective as they explore your work. Prompt them to add follow-up questions from varied perspectives they might wish to investigate further. Remind learners that not every issue will touch on all perspectives.
  4. Present your work, including evidence and data. Try to include considerations from the varied geographic perspectives you used to explore.
  5. Have learners discuss their notes in small groups of 2-4, then ask a few of the groups to share highlights from their discussions by perspective. Take mental or physical notes of the questions learners generated on varied perspectives.
  6. Reflect on commonalities and trends from the sharing. Which questions for future consideration are most intriguing? Which ones will you pursue next? What new resources will you need to investigate or engage with these questions and perspectives?
  7. Challenge learners to consider issues that impact them from these varied perspectives. How can considering these perspectives help us understand the roots of issues? How can we find solutions to problems where perspectives overlap?

Modifications, Variations, and Extensions

  • To complete this activity without using worksheets, display the definitions and guiding questions before and after your presentation to guide discussion.
  • For younger learners, you might want to break a larger group into smaller groups of 2-3 learners. Each smaller group can be assigned 1 or 2 “perspectives” to listen or look for as they explore. Learners can then share their ideas from those perspectives after the session and discuss connections.
  • This worksheet can also be used as an analysis tool for users to consider the complexity of issues or problems that confront them. Learners can choose an issue or problem, then - individually or in small groups - brainstorm facts and questions about the issue across the different perspectives. Ask learners to consider how one perspective overlaps with another to see the complexity of the issue. This analysis can then inform next steps such as research and solution finding.
  • In a more in-depth investigation of a topic using GIS tools, emphasize the “geographic” aspect of these perspectives by identifying geographic data sets that would help learners “see” these perspectives on a map. For example, “Which data sets could give us a ‘political’ perspective on this issue (political borders, national park borders, voting patterns)? What would we learn from adding an economic data set (income distribution, land use)?”
  • To extend the use of this worksheet, invite learners to research or investigate questions that they developed from varied perspectives.
Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Dan Byerly, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Bayan Atari, National Geographic Society
Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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