Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Paleobotany – Climate Change Past and Present

Description

Meet Dr. Scott Wing, a paleobotanist at the National Museum of Natural History. See what he found in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming that was worth eleven years of searching. Join him in interpreting the climate record from fossilized leaves and other clues. Explore how plant communities have changed in response to global climate changes. Understand today's warming of our planet in a geological context.

This program originally aired June 5, 2014, as part of the Smithsonian Science How webcast series, which is designed to bring natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.

Teaching Resources

Reading Climate Change from Fossil Leaves

National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Earth Science

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • MS-ESS3-5: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

Life Science

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-LS4-2: Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
  • MS-LS4-4: Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
  • MS-LS4-6: Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Resource Type
Videos
Grade Level
6-8
Topics
Earth Science