Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Culture and Climate Change in the Arctic


  • Title: Culture and Climate Change in the Arctic
  • Air Date: November 5, 2015
  • Series: Smithsonian Science How webcasts, which are designed to connect natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.

This video features Dr. Bill Fitzhugh, an archaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History. When you think of the Arctic, do you envision an icebound, isolated place? Find out what the Arctic is really like and how people have coped with its unique conditions for thousands of years. Take a journey back to about 6,000 years ago when the first people lived in Labrador, Canada. See how they responded to changing climate over time. Join Bill in reflecting on how future changes may affect Arctic people.

Teaching Resources

Arctic Conditions and Cultures

National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

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)

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
Videos and Webcasts
Grade Level
Learning Standards
National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, Next Generation Science Standards
Life Science, Anthropology and Social Studies