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Kilimanjaro Expedition

Discovering a Sense of Place
Taking Learning to New Heights

The GLOBE Program, GLOBE AFRICA, Colorado's St. Vrain Valley School District and Discovery Education are proud partners in a scientific and learning expedition to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.



Climbing Kilimanjaro

Virtual Field Trip

October 8 | 1:00 PM ET

Hosted at St. Vrain Valley School District, the Virtual Field Trip will provide students with the opportunity to hear about Mount Kilimanjaro first-hand from educators who climbed the mountain. They will learn about collecting environmental data on the mountain’s six biomes and meet a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist to discuss the SMAP Mission, a satellite that measures the Earth’s soil moisture. Students will learn about the importance of collecting this data and how they can participate by completing their own research.

Ask the team your questions through Twitter @DiscoveryEd using the hashtag, #DiscoverKili ahead of time – you never know, it may get answered live on air!

Register Your Classroom

Learning Objectives

From the scientific study of atmospheric and geographical conditions, to the history of the indigenous people that call the base of the mountain home, this is a cross-curricular adventure that includes guided content for all ages.

Explore the unique biomes of Mount Kilimanjaro with the interactive image below. Click on each biome listed and then select the respective grade level to view the lesson starters and content collection to bring Mount Kilimanjaro into your classroom.

Learn about the changing climate and terrain as team members climb to the summit and GLOBE scientists report on their findings. A travel journal detailing Kilimanjaro's various biomes will also be available below.

The content collections on the different biomes below require a Discovery Education Streaming account. You may access a free trial of our services to preview the resources. | Try Discovery Education

About the Hike

September 23 - September 30

Embarking on the expedition will be 10 students, 12 educators, and 4 scientists representing Nigeria, Oman, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States. This international team will attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the world's Seven Summits, and the tallest mountain on the African continent.

Follow along as they explore the incredible terrain of the mountain as well as the culture and surrounding wildlife. Each day, the team will submit a blog post on that will capture their unique perspective on the journey through the eyes of the students, teachers and scientists.

Join the Adventure

Want to get involved?

Have your students follow along the blog posts, track the scientific findings, and interact with the travelers on Twitter by tweeting @DiscoveryEd using the hashtag, #DiscoverKili. Not on Twitter? Email your questions directly to the team at

Click to Learn About the Biomes

Image Map The Mountain The Summit Alpine Desert Moorland Heath Zone Rainforest Cultivated Areas

Data & Observations

Travel Journal

  • Base Camp

    Arusha, Tanzania
    2,788 feet

    Today, students and teachers reviewed science protocols with Sylivester Chaisamba, Head of the Climatology Department, Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA). We received a mountain briefing and everyone is doing well, looking forward to the upcoming challenge of Kilimanjaro. We are all wondering, what will the mountain be like? How difficult will the climb be?

    Read the Complete Journal Entry
  • Park Gate to Forest Camp

    Cultivated Land to Rain Forest
    2,998 to 7,998 feet

    One thing that is hard to get across in pictures is how big the mountain actually is.Mt. Kilimanjaro gets its name from the Swahili name, Kilima "hill or little mountain" and Njaro for "white or shining". It lies on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, just south of the Equator. Kilimanjaro with its three volcanic cones, Shira, Kibo and Mawensi is an inactive volcano, part of the Great African Rift Valley, which extends to the west. Kilimanjaro is almost 70 miles wide.

    Read the Complete Journal Entry
  • Forest Camp to Shira 1 Camp

    Rain Forest to Heath Zone Biomes
    7,998 to 11,499 feet

    Our guides are great! They get us moving, keep us moving, and are encouraging us along the way. "Pole, pole" (pronounced with a long "o" and a long "a", as in "polay"), that's the greeting we hear from our guides and porters as we are walking. Pole, means "slowly". The trick to climbing this mountain is to take it slowly... slowly, but keep moving. Today will be moving from the Forest Biome to a Heath Zone. The trees will be much shorter and there won't be as much moisture. What is it like where you live?

    Read the Complete Journal Entry
  • Shira 1 Camp to Lava Tower

    Heath Zone to Moorland
    11,499 to 14,442 feet

    Today we stopped to take a close look at the skull and bones of an elephant that is thought to be killed around 1980. It is amazing that such a big animal made it so far up the mountain. We are at 13,661 feet. Was it looking for water or food or did it just possess the soul of an explorer?

    Read the Complete Journal Entry
  • Lava Tower to Karanga Camp

    Moorland to Alpine Desert
    14,442 to 12,998 feet

    Today we hiked through the most magical part of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Barranco Valley. We made our way through a moss forest and then to the Valley where the Giant Lobelia and Senecio trees which are found nowhere else in the world. The Lobelia, In order to protect the sensitive leaf buds from the night time temperatures, close their leaves around the central core.

    Read the Complete Journal Entry
  • Karanga Camp to Kossovo Camp

    Alpine Desert
    12,998 to 16,000 feet

    Today was a very long and tough hike. We passed Barafu Camp on our way to Kossove Camp. Barafu, translating to ice in Swahili should give you some idea as to the temperature at this elevation. Each night the students continue to answer questions via e-mail and we are trying to answer as many as possible but have been overwhelmed with the numbers. We are all so very excited to be able to share this adventure with each of you.

    Read the Complete Journal Entry
  • Crater Camp to Uhuru Peak

    18,398 to 19,340 to 10,498 feet

    WE HAVE MADE IT TO THE SUMMIT! It is currently 10:30 local time. We made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa! It was a very long climb, over many days, to the summit. We are now looking out at glaciers and clouds. The view is spectacular. Most of us now agree that this is the hardest thing we have ever done. Lots of us have had headaches and upset stomachs, but we feel MUCH better now that we have reached the top of Africa.

    Read the Complete Journal Entry

Additional Findings

Check out The Globe Program's complete research, data and findings on their website.

Ask the Team

Have questions for the team? Ask them directly on Twitter @DiscoveryEd using the hashtag #DiscoverKili or email them at

Student Activity

Create Your Own Sense of Place

Use Discovery Education's Board Builder to tell us about the space around you. What is it like where you live? Think about your atmosphere, animal life, geography, precipitation and culture and create a board that describes your sense of place.

Who's Hiking


The Students

Eight students from Oman and two students from Tanzania create this international group of high school students participating in the hike.


The Educators

Twelve educators from across the globe will participate in this steep climb.

  • Jayme Sneider, Colorado
  • Jessie Lubbers, Colorado
  • Barbara Monday, Colorado
  • Ahmed Albuloshi, Oman
  • Salem Albosaidi, Oman
  • Mokhtar Alsobhi, Oman
  • Hamad Alshuily, Oman
  • Tony Murphy, Colorado
  • Mark Brettenny, South Africa
  • Nadhira Alharthi, Oman
  • Jason Barnes, Rhode Island

A team of base camp educators will also be on Twitter @BaseCampStaff to assist in answering students' questions to the hashtag, #DiscoverKili.

  • Frank Hulsman, Kentucky
  • John Wood, California
  • Barney Peterson, Washington
  • Marnie Steele, Colorado


The Scientists

Scientists will lead the data collection and discoveries during the expedition to report back about this unique place.

  • Mr. Sylvester Chaisamba, Research Scientist, Tanzania Meteorological Agency
  • Dr. Hamid Sulaiman, Department of Biology Sultan Qaboos University
  • Yliass Lawani, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Benin, Nigeria

Their Guide

Their Guide

Michael O’Toole, Science Coordinator, St. Vrain Valley Schools

Michael's love of learning has led to a career in education that spans over two decades and 5 continents. Throughout his career as an educator and curriculum developer he has had the opportunity to work with students and teachers around the world and with such organizations as National Geographic, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. Mike initiated the Kilimanjaro Learning Xpedition in 2008.

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