Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Bones and Environmental Health


National Middle School Science Standards

Life Science, Physical Science

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Key Terms

physical anthropology, archaeology, skeletal remains, cranium, contaminant, pollution, environmental health 

Key Concepts

  • Skull analysis for age, sex, ancestry, and health 
  • Human skeletal development 
  • Organic vs. inorganic environmental contaminants
  • Contaminant impacts on bones  
  • Technology used by bio-archaeologists

Resource Types

Anthropology Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Bones and Environmental Health teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations.

Life Science

MS-LS 1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-3 Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
  • MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

Physical Science

MS-PS1 Matter and Its Interactions

  • MS-PS1-2 Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • MS-PS1-3 Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.

National Curriculum Standards For Social Studies (NCSS)

The Bones and Environmental Health resources align with the following Social Studies standards listed below that integrate anthropology concepts with anthropology skills.

Time, Continuity, and Change

  • Studying the past makes it possible for us to understand the human story across time.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the past enable us to analyze the causes and consequences of events and developments, and to place these in the context of the institutions, values and beliefs of the periods in which they took place.
  • Knowing how to read, reconstruct and interpret the past allows us to answer questions such as: How do we learn about the past? How can we evaluate the usefulness and degree of reliability of different historical sources?

People, Places, and Environments

  • The study of people, places, and environments enables us to understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world.
  • During their studies, learners develop an understanding of spatial perspectives, and examine changes in the relationship between peoples, places and environments.
Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, Next Generation Science Standards
Anthropology and Social Studies, Life Science, Physical Science