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Becoming A National Geographic Certified Educator

Posted by LeLe Sims on

It’s Official⁠ — I’m a National Geographic Certified Educator!

National Geographic Certified Educator

In the Summer and Fall of 2020 I enrolled in a National Geographic course for the first time. I connected with like-minded educators, learned new skills and became part of a growing global education network. The course is made to inspire Pre-K—12 formal and informal educators to a various resources that help teach students about the world in innovative and interdisciplinary ways. 

Keep reading this post to see how you can become a National Geographic Certified Educator! I'll also share insights of my capstone project.

Educator Moment 

What is the National Geographic Educator Certification?

National Geographic Educator Certification is a free professional development program that recognizes pre-K through 12 formal and informal educators committed to inspiring the next generation of students to be informed decision-makers equipped to solve meaningful challenges in their communities and beyond.”

What do educators (both formal and informal) learn from the three month program?

  • How to develop strategies for teaching about the world in innovative, interdisciplinary ways.
  • How to cultivate an “explorer mindset” in their students that empower them to become change agents.
  • How to engage with an online network of expert educators and support each other’s professional growth during the program and beyond.

The program consists of three phases. No worries you can complete these phases at our own pace over the course of three months. Do not get discouraged if this is your first online learning program, the dashboard and instructions are easy to follow. 

Phase 1: Certification Workshop

In Phase 1, educators are asked to share their teaching mission, submit short reflection assignments and view teaching through different perspectives. The  National Geographic’s Learning Framework is introduced, practically the core beliefs and values of the organization. It is a guide that assists educators, built around attitudes, skills, and knowledge areas that encourage students to think like explorers. 

It goes over a set of learning outcomes that define what kids can learn and do at different ages, working towards making the world a better place. 

Phase 2: Classroom Activities

The hands on activities happen now. The course asks you to implement two classroom activities, and have students learn and experience what it means to be part of an "interconnected world". The National Geographic resource page is  helpful, packed with tons of ideas and lessons.

Phase 3: Capstone Project

The third and final phase of this course is all about the Capstone Project. The multimedia project includes short written reflections, photos, and video. If you aren't tech savvy, not a problem the mentor support group helps out with tips and tools to get your video together. 

Capstone project: Kids & Coastlines 

My reflection video commits to the global message of caring for our planet. I put together a lesson for ages 2 to 5, an art with nature immersion project in South Florida.The area we covered is part of the 24 miles of Broward County beaches and often visited by locals and tourists. We wanted to find ways to identify, clean up and restore  our local beach and coastal vegetation.


Nature Walk

Coastal Restoration Project

I modeled my lesson’s efforts after Nat Geo’s Land, Water & Animals resources - which helped create categories and ways to identify the data we had just collected. We created two groups: Nature & Plastic.


The project has made me believe it is never too early to get involved. Fostering a sense of community is the first step in becoming ambassadors for the planet. 


If you’re an educator interested in enrolling National Geographic Educator Certification please view registration details here

Having moved around the globe, for travel, work and education, living and learning about the world became important. Yet, even more so when I became a mom. Now with both roles, of mom and educator I am committed to inspiring the next generation of explorers. Thanks to all who provided support! Especially, my course mentor Marissa and the Team at NatGeo Learning 

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