Watch New Wildlife and History Documentaries from National Geographic

13 May 2024 in Into Film+

5 mins

Nine new inspiring documentaries are now available to watch for free* on Into Film+ Premium, bringing the National Geographic's quality research and production value into classrooms. From the startling beauty of the natural world to the complex issues faced by modern society, these films present their subjects with clear and accessible perspectives, ideal for an educational setting.

The documentaries, all produced by the National Geographic's factual filmmaking branch, are suitable for young audiences ranging from primary to secondary school. They relate to curricular subjects including Science, History, Citizenship and Engineering, in addition to exploring topics such as animals, travel and exploration, climate change, democracy and rights, and World War Two.

The animal kingdom

The immersive and vivid nature of documentaries means that they are a great way for learners to observe the animal kingdom. Baby animals, aside from being inherently cute, offer an excellent entry point into the study of biology for young audiences: their challenges and triumphs as they find their feet in the natural world can resonate with children as they too experience growing up. Little Giant tells the story of an elephant calf learning to take his first steps in the African savannah. Operation Orangutan documents the progress of baby apes attending ‘jungle school' so they can be rehabilitated into the wild. The astounding variety of species is also perfectly captured in comprehensive documentaries such as How Dogs Got Their Shapes, which explores how over 400 canine breeds now scamper around the globe, and Planet of the Birds, an introduction to the many different types of birds and their environments. 

Stories of water

Documentaries can help connect different aspects of a multifaceted topic, fostering a greater understanding of the broader picture. In the following documentaries, we see the role that water has played in history, economics, and geography. Severe droughts and corruption mean that the ‘essence of life' has become a commodity in some parts of the world, as seen in Water and Power: A California Heist. The importance of water in shaping civilisations and legends is explored in Lost Cities with Albert Lin: The Great Flood, and the seabed reveals naval and military secrets in Drain the Ocean: WWII, shining a light on the many advancements in technology that help us to interpret the fascinating stories held within this everyday liquid.

Voices from history

Personal accounts are key to unlocking the past and putting historic events into perspective, and documentary film lends itself to this most effectively thanks to its use of interviews, reconstructions, and archive footage. Adding to our growing catalogue of titles that explore World War Two, Eyewitness: D-Day weaves together the testimonies of five people who played a part in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. The US Civil Rights Movement is remembered through the context of more recent sociopolitical events in The March on Washington: Keepers of the Dream, highlighting the power of community support and resilient activism in the face of injustice.

How Do I Get Started?

To access Into Film+, all you'll need is an Into Film Account - it's completely free, and only takes a moment to set up. Into Film+ is free to use for all UK state schools that hold a valid Public Video Screening (PVS) Licence from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia PVS Licences are paid for on behalf of schools by all local authorities in England and by some local authorities in both Wales and Scotland. Into Film NI cover the license cost for some schools in Northern Ireland. For further information on licensing in your locality please see our FAQs.

If you don't have a PVS Licence, or aren't already covered, then a licence can easily be obtained from Filmbankmedia.

* Screenings for an entertainment or extra-curricular purpose require a PVS (Public Video Screening) Licence from Filmbankmedia. State-funded schools in England are covered by the PVS Licence.

Into Film and the Into Film+ streaming service is supported by the UK film industry through Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery Funding, thanks to National Lottery players. Since the very first National Lottery draw in 1994, public support - raised directly through National Lottery ticket sales - has funded more than 670,000 projects, raising more than £46 billion for good causes.

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