Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Minerals and Microbes


National Middle School Science Standards

Life Science, Earth Science

Key Terms

geology, microbiology, microbes, minerals, chemical elements, ecosystem services, remediation

Key Concepts

  • Ecology of microbes such as fungi and bacteria 
  • Flow of energy between minerals and microbes
  • Microbes and their value for ecosystem services 
  • Definition and composition of a mineral 
  • Technology used by geologists and microbiologists

Resource Types

Geosciences Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Minerals and Microbes 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-LS1-7 Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.

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.
  • MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems..
  • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

Earth Science

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Earth Science, Life Science