Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Bones and Forensic Anthropology


National Middle School Science Standards

Life Science, Physical Science

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Key Terms

forensic anthropology, archaeology, skeletal analysis, antemortem, perimortem, postmortem

Key Concepts

  • Skeletal analysis for age, sex, ancestry, and health 
  • Process of identifying cause of death 
  • Human skeletal development over a lifespan
  • Culture of Jamestown and other colonies  
  • Technology used by forensic anthropologists 

Resource Types

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Forensic Anthropology 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-LS1-1 Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells, either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

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.

National Curriculum Standards For Social Studies (NCSS)

The Forensic Anthropology 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