Presenting to Audiences of Different Ages

Presenting to Audiences of Different Ages

This guide provides tips for engaging students of various ages.

The PDF resources in the carousel below include (from left to right): Tipsheet for Ages 4-8; Tipsheet for Ages 9-14; Tipsheet for Ages 15-26. Scroll below the resources for guidance on using these resources in your education work.


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Professional Learning, Experiential Learning

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Why use this tool

These tip sheets provide suggestions for tailoring learning engagements for learners of different ages. While the tips are mostly relevant to short “presentation”-style engagements, they are also relevant to longer engagements like workshops or programs.

When to use this tool

Stage(s) of Learning: Explore - These tips are most relevant to presentations that invite learners to explore your work and ideas.

Time: 20 - 60 minutes - These tips are most relevant to short “presentation”-style learning engagements

Audience: Ages 4-26 - The tipsheets cover the Youngest Learners (4-8); Middle-Level Learners (9-14); and Older Youth Learners (15-26).

Ease of Use: Simple - These general guidelines can be used to inform any kind of learning engagement.

How to use this tool

Preparation: Identify your intended audience and review the appropriate tip sheet

  • Youngest Learners (4-8)
  • Middle-Level Learners (9-14)
  • Older Youth Learners (15-26)


  1. Connect with the group of learners beforehand, if possible. Understand what they have been doing and where they are coming from.
  2. Prepare your presentation and engagement, using the guidance from the tip sheet. Consider the following categories from the sheets:
    1. Purpose and Focus: Identify the main ideas of your presentation and build age-appropriate content around them.
    2. Images, Props, and Data: Choose graphic and experiential elements for the presentation based on the age, the accessibility, and the ways you hope learners will engage.
    3. Personalization: Include relevant details from your life that will resonate with the questions learners this age ask about themselves.
    4. Cultural awareness: Review your presentation materials to ensure that you have accounted for cultural differences and sensitivities. Consider how these learners will receive your presentation.
    5. Providing Directions: Review how you will ask the learners to interact with you and each other to help everything go smoothly.
    6. Plan for Participation: Integrate ways for every learner to respond or participate in the engagement, even if it is a short interaction.
    7. Prepare for Questions: Learners of different ages often focus on different aspects of a presentation. Consider how you might answer certain common questions.
  3. Review and practice before you present to make sure that any slides you present are simple and visible, any technology you are using works, and that your presentation fits in the allotted time.
  4. Relax and have fun working with learners. They will see your passion and respond with their own interest.
  5. Leave time for questions and reflection. Learners of all ages will have a lot more they want to know and a lot that they want to tell you. Encourage their curiosity and you might inspire them to explore.

Modifications, Variations, and Extensions:

  • Consider what you will “leave behind” to inspire additional exploration. Do you want learners to engage in discussion around a question? Investigate a topic in their own lives?
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
Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
Patrick Cavanagh, National Geographic Society
Clint Parks
Specialist, Content Production
Jean Cantu, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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