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In addition to lesson plans and student activities, the Museum also offers many resources that can be used in classroom units or lessons – or just to learn more about a topic!

Resource Groups:

  • Discovering and Understanding
    Life’s Diversity
  • Formation and Evolution of the Earth and Solar System
  • Human Culture and Diversity


Discovering and Understanding Life’s Diversity:

Q?rius Topic Page: What Is Biodiversity?
Learn how new species are named and how scientists are developing ways to monitor and measure biodiversity over time. Get links to related collection objects, media, and associated Smithsonian experts.

Encyclopedia of Life
The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is an ambitious project to organize and make available via the Internet virtually all information about life present on Earth. At its heart lies a series of Web sites: One for each of the approximately 1.8 million known species. Each site is constantly evolving and features content ranging from historical literature and biological descriptions to stunning images, videos and distribution maps.

Encyclopedia Smithsonian
From Art to Zoology, chose a topic related to Smithsonian Collections to explore!

Ocean Science at the National Museum of Natural History
Students can explore the marine collections of the Museum, explore field stations where our scientists collect specimens and conduct research, and discover the marine science program.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Animal Guide
The Monterey Bay Aquarium showcases marine life in the Monterey Bay and beyond. With a 28-foot-tall giant kelp forest, sea otters, penguins, and many more marine creatures, it's an excellent place to see ocean wildlife up close. Students can learn about the animals and their habitats through the aquarium’s online field guide.

What You Can Do (for the Ocean)This list presents some common – and not-so-common – ways for students to learn how they can help preserve the Ocean and its diversity for future generations.

Jellyfish Romance
This article presents the surprising and fascinating reproductive activity of these soft-bodied animals.

Measuring Biodiversity across North America
Bring biodiversity field data into the classroom using state-of-the-art interactive mapping technology. This resource combines an in-class lesson plan with interactive online components for students with which they can compare the richness of biodiversity across two or more geographic areas.

Beaked Whales Identification Guide
See whales as you have never before seen them in the Beaked Whale Identification Guide.

The Last American Dinosaurs
Like all life, dinosaurs were part of a complex ecological community of animals and plants. Join us as we piece together a picture of their world by looking at fossils from this ancient time.


Formation and Evolution of the Earth and Solar System

Global Volcanism Program
The Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP) is devoted to a better understanding of Earth's active volcanoes and their eruptions during the last 10,000 years. Their website includes a dynamic map of the Earth, maps and photos of volcanoes, and current updates on volcanic activity around the world.

Q?rius Topic Page: Meteorites - Messengers from Outer Space

Meteorites often contain matter from the birth of the Solar System. Learn where meteorites come from, where scientists find them, and more.

The Splendor of Diamonds
The Splendor of Diamonds is an online exhibition introduces the extraordinary features of seven diamonds.


Human Culture and Diversity

Q?rius Topic Page: Human Evolution
Explore the lengthy process of change by which people originated from apelike ancestors. Get links to related collection objects, videos, and associated Smithsonian experts.

Q?rius Topic Page: Arctic Landscapes and Peoples
Learn about the various people and cultures, as well as plants and animals, which have inhabited the Arctic for thousands of years. Discover the research areas Smithsonian scientists are exploring in the Arctic.

Published twice a year, this publication contains articles on current anthropological research by leading anthropologists, teaching activities and strategies, and reviews of teaching resources. To receive an electronic version of AnthroNotes, sign up at

Department of Anthropology Collections
Middle and high school students and their teachers can search the online collections of the NMNH Department of Anthropology, including African objects. For photos of artifacts and objects, use the advanced search option to narrow your search to entries with pictures.

Anthropology Explored: Professional Enrichment Expand your professional knowledge of Anthropology with Anthropology Explored, a collection of 36 essays written in a light and easy-to-read style by some of the world’s leading anthropologists. The chapters trace the emergence of humans, describe archaeologists’ understanding of early settlements, and explore the diversity of past and present cultures.

African Voices Exhibition Home The exhibition homepage is an excellent source for learning about African history and culture. It also includes a learning center, with links to additional online resources.

Dread History: the African Diaspora, Ethiopianism, and Rastafari
This online exhibition provides unique insight and information on the origins and development of Rastafari culture, including an extensive collection of photos.

Human Origins Program Homepage
Researchers in the Human Origins Program are dedicated to understanding the biological and cultural foundations of human life. The program’s homepage provides excellent and detailed information about human evolution.

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