Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Arctic Conditions and Cultures


National Middle School Science Standards

Life Science

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Key Terms

Arctic, climate change, sea ice, adaptation, anthropology, polar

Key Concepts

  • Arctic conditons for sustaining life
  • Adaptations of Arctic animals and people
  • Interdependencies of Arctic animals and people
  • Changing Arctic climate and sea ice
  • Impacts of Arctic changes on life

Resource Types

Online Learning Lab collections from the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska include:

  • Alaska Native Cultures
  • Distance Learning: Classroom and Homeschool Lessons
  • Community Videos
  • Conversations

Anthropology Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Arctic Conditions and Cultures teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations.

Life Science

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

National Curriculum Standards For Social Studies (NCSS)

The Arctic Conditions and Cultures resources align with the following Social Studies standards listed below that integrate anthropology concepts with anthropology skills.

People, Places and Environments

  • Elaborate mental maps of locales, regions, and the world that demonstrate understanding of relative location, direction, size, and shape.
  • Propose, compare, and evaluate alternative uses of land and resources in communities, regions, nations, and the world.
  • Describe physical system changes such as seasons, climate and weather, and the water cycle and identify geographic patterns associated with them.
  • Observe and speculate about social and economic effects of environmental changes and crises resulting from phenomena such as floods, storms, and drought.


  • Compare similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures meet human needs and concerns.
  • Examine, interpret, and analyze physical and cultural patterns and their interactions, such as land use, settlement patterns, cultural transmission of customs and ideas, and ecosystem changes.

Cultural Diversity and Global Connections

  • Explain and give examples of how language, literature, the arts, architecture, other artifacts, traditions beliefs, values, and behaviors contribute to the development and transmission of culture.

Time, Continuity, and Change

  • Identify and use processes important to reconstruction and reinterpreting the past, such as using a variety of sources, providing validating, and weighing evidence for claims, checking credibility of sources, and searching for causality.
Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, Next Generation Science Standards
Anthropology and Social Studies, Life Science