Frontline World








Ties to Literature

Give Us Your Feedback


Problems Printing?
Related Story Images from the Video




Download RealPlayer


total length: 16:58

Clip 1 (length 4:54)
The Nepalese women's team prepares to climb Mount Everest

Clip 2 (length 4:54)
One member of the women's team makes history

Image from the storyDocumenting a Historic Climb of Mount Everest

Target Grade Levels:
Grades 7-12

Role of Women, Environment

• The Activity
• Extensions
• Relevant National Standards
• Cross-Curricular Activities
• Ties to Literature

The Activity

To the Sherpa people, Mount Everest is Chomolongma, "Mother Goddess of the Universe." To a team of Sherpa women, climbing the mountain is an opportunity to make history. Set the stage for this activity by showing students where Mt. Everest is on a map and pointing out regional political boundaries and physical geography features.

Next, divide the class into groups of four and explain to students that each group will be working as a team to create the front page of a newspaper that will document the historic attempt of these women to summit Mount Everest. Each member of the team will contribute an article and a photo or other graphic to the front page. The members of each team will work together to name their newspaper, create the layout, write the headlines and coordinate different topics for the articles. Possible story angles might include why the women want to climb the mountain, the role of women in Nepal, dangers of climbing the mountain and so on.

Help students gather information for their newspaper by showing the video story "Nepal: Dreams of Chomolongma" (running time: 12:15). As they watch, students should record the "who, what, when, where, why, and how" information that will help them write their news articles. If students need further references, they can read an interview with Sapana Sakya, the FRONTLINE/World reporter who covered the expedition, Among the Mountain Women: Interview With Sapana Sakya,
check the Facts & Stats
on Nepal and visit Links & Resources
on women in Nepal, Sherpa life and more.

When students complete their newspapers, display them on the wall and provide time for students to circulate and admire one another's work.

back to top


Expand class discussion on the role of women by exploring these related FRONTLINE/World stories:

China: Shanghai Nights
Tour Shanghai with controversial novelist Mian Mian, whose writing pushes the limits of Chinese culture and her government.

India: The Sex Workers
Learn how sex workers in India struggle to improve their conditions and safeguard their health.

Kenya: Run Lornah Run
Explore the traditional role of women in Kenya and find out how female long-distance runners are challenging the norm.

Kyrgyzstan: The Kidnapped Bride
Explore the ancient Kyrgyz tradition of bride kidnapping and the ways that women support the practice.

Nigeria: The Road North
Chronicle the troubles of the Miss World pageant, read the reflections of five different Nigerian women on the challenges women face there, and watch a case study on women's rights and sharia law, as experienced by Amina Lawal.

The Women's Kingdom (from FRONTLINE/World's 'Rough Cut' series)
Learn about the matriarchal Mosuo society in China, one of the last in the world.

back to top

Relevant National Standards

These standards are drawn from "Content Knowledge," a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning), at

Language Arts, Standard 7: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts

Levels III and IV, Benchmark 1
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts
Levels III and IV, Benchmark 2
Knows the defining characteristics of a variety of informational texts
World History, Standard 44: Understands the search for community, stability and peace in an interdependent world
Level IV, Benchmark 1
Understands the influences on and impact of cultural trends in the second half of the 20th century
Level IV, Benchmark 12
Under stands gender roles across the globe

back to top

Cross-Curricular Activities
Consider building on the themes of the above activity by working with colleagues in other disciplines to conduct the following activities.

Examine the Effects of Disease Across Time (Health)

The Activity

Create a matrix that examines the social, economic and political effects of disease epidemics across time. Divide students into groups and have each group choose a disease featured on the Epidemics Through Time
map. Be sure one group chooses SARS so an example of a recent outbreak is included. Using the map and other research materials i.e. Links and Resources,
have each group fill in the class matrix with the following information about their assigned disease: name of disease, details of its outbreak (including geographic areas affected), mode of transmission, and one social, one economic and one political effect of the disease. When the matrix is complete, discuss these questions.

  • What are some of the similarities and differences of the diseases?
  • In our modern world, how is the mode of transmission different from earlier times?
  • Should the United States be concerned about disease outbreaks in foreign countries? Why or why not?


Visit the "Hong Kong: Chasing the Virus" Web resources to find the features mentioned in this activity, to watch the full FRONTLINE/World segment in streaming video, or to gather related links and facts:

Relevant National Standards

Health, Standard 2: Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health

Health, Standard 8: Knows essential concepts about the prevention and control of disease

Level IV, Benchmark 4
Understands the social, economic and political effects of disease on individuals, families and communities

back to top

Track the Discovery, Spread and Control of Disease (Health, Life Sciences)

The Activity

Create a flow chart following the SARS crisis from its outbreak to the discovery that peptides can prevent the SARS virus from penetrating cells. Students can find information for their charts in the story overview
for "Hong Kong: Chasing the Virus" and in "Peptides, Antibodies, Membranes ... What?".
Students also can complete their flow charts by watching the video (about 13 minutes long) of this story.


Visit the "Hong Kong: Chasing the Virus" Web resources to find the features mentioned in this activity, to watch the full FRONTLINE/World segment in streaming video, or to gather related links and facts:

Relevant National Standards

Health, Standard 2: Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health

Level IV, Benchmark 3
Understands how the environment influences the health of the community
Level IV, Benchmark 4
Understands how the prevention and control of health problems are influenced by research and medical advances
Life Sciences, Standard 5: Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms

Level III, Benchmark 4
Knows that multicellular organisms have a variety of specialized cells, tissues, organs and organ systems that perform specialized functions
Level III, Benchmark 8
Knows that disease in organisms can be caused by intrinsic failures of the system or infection by other organisms

back to top

Calculate When the Oil Industry Will Dry Up (Mathematics)

The Activity

Have students use the statistics provided in the feature "Charting the World's Oil"
to answer these questions.

  • Based on the current level of oil production for each country (given in millions of barrels per day in "Where Is the World's Oil Currently Produced?"), in what year will each country's oil reserves (given in billions of barrels remaining in "Where Are the World's Oil Reserves?") run out?
  • What is the projected percentage of increase in world and U.S. oil demand between now and the year 2020? (See the Surprising Facts section.)
After students have finished their calculations, have them discuss these questions.
  • How might the United States' demand for oil influence its foreign policy decisions?
  • How could the United States decrease its demand for oil?


Web site for "Charting the World's Oil"

Visit the FRONTLINE/World Fellows story "Peru: Gamble in the Jungle" for another look at the issues involved in balancing natural resource exploration and the environment:

Relevant National Standards

Mathematics, Standard 3: Uses basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation

back to top

Draw Musical Inspiration from Nature and World Cultures (Music)

The Activity

Using Icelandic music as a case study, explore how the environment inspires music as well as how cultures around the world influence one another's music. Begin by having students pretend to be reporters covering the Icelandic music scene. Using the feature "Long Nights Out With Top Icelandic Bands",
ask students to choose one band and write a descriptive review of its music. Reviews should include student hypotheses and supporting explanations for what they believe has inspired the band's sound (for example, Iceland's moonlike geography, its endless summer days and winter nights, its frequent economic interactions with the United States and Germany, and so on). Students may wish to consult the Facts & Stats section
on Iceland for information and ideas.


Visit the "Iceland: The Future of Sound" Web resources to find the features utilized in this activity, to watch the full FRONTLINE/World segment in streaming video, to read an interview with music reporter Marco Werman, or to find related links:

Relevant National Standards

Music, Standard 7: Understands the relationship between music and history and culture

back to top