Skip to main content

Teaching Resources

Bones and Environmental Health

STEM Subject

Bones and Environmental Health

National Middle School Standards

Life Science, Physical ScienceSocial Studies 

Key Terms:

physical anthropology, archaeology, skeletal remains, cranium, contaminant, pollution, environmental health 

Key Concepts:  

  • Skull analysis for age, sex, ancestry, and health 
  • Human skeletal development 
  • Organic vs. inorganic environmental contaminants
  • Contaminant impacts on bones  
  • Technology used by bio-archaeologists 

Resource Types:

Associated Experts

Environmental contaminants leave a record on hard tissues, such as the tobacco stains on these teeth. Smithsonian photo.Environmental contaminants leave a record on hard tissues, such as the tobacco stains on these teeth. Smithsonian photo.




The Bones and Environmental Health teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

Life Science


From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • MS-LS1-3Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
  • MS-LS1-5Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.


Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • MS-LS2-1Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Physical Science


Matter and Its Interactions
  • MS-PS1-2Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • MS-PS1-3Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.


The Bones and Environmental Health 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.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards


Close-up shot of anthropologist Dr. Sabrina Sholts examining a beige skull thats in her hand in the lower right foreground.
Sabrina Sholts
Physical Anthropologist
Anthropologist Kari Bruwelheide in a room by a table holding a human skull and showing it to two female students.
Kari Bruwelheide
Physical Anthropology Museum Specialist
Anthropologist Dr. Doug Owsley crouched down in a burial site looking at two human skeletons excavated in Jamestown.
Doug Owsley
Anthropologist, Division Head of Physical Anthropology

Welcome! Please take a short survey:

Click to select a number