Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Tracking Global Change Through Ocean Fossils


National Middle School Science Standards

Earth Science, Life Science

Key Terms

paleobiology, foraminifera, plankton, ocean fossils, indicator species, extinction, climate change 

Key Concepts

  • Studying the fossil record of small ocean animals 
  • What foraminifera reveal about Earth's history 
  • Earth's deep history of climate change
  • Causes and consequences of climate change
  • Technology used by paleobiologists 

Resource Types

Middle School Level

High School Level

Advanced Reading Level

Paleontology Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Global Change Through Ocean Fossils teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations.

Earth Science

MS-ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe

  • MS-ESS1-4 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.

MS-ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • MS-ESS2-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.

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.

Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Earth Science, Life Science, Paleontology