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Teaching Resources

Dinosaur Lives and Ecosystems

STEM Subject

Dinosaur Lives and Ecosystems

National Middle School Science Standards

Earth Science, Life Science 

Key Terms:

paleontology, dinosaur, fossil record, ecosystem, microfossil, Jurassic period, Cretaceous period

Key Concepts:

  • Dinosaur habits and habitats
  • Jurassic and Cretaceous ecosystems 
  • Intepreting microfossil assemblages
  • Reconstructing ancient environments
  • Technology used by paleontologists 

Resource Types:

Associated Experts

Swampy forest ecosystem in Maryland 110 million years ago. Depiction by Mary Parrish, Smithsonian.Swampy forest ecosystem in Maryland 110 million years ago. Depiction by Mary Parrish, Smithsonian.


Middle School Level


High School Level


Gifted Readers



The Dinosaur Lives and Ecosystems teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

Earth Science


Earth's Place in the Universe
  • MS-ESS1-4Construct 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.


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


Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • MS-LS4-1Analyze 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-LS4-2Apply 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.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards


Wide shot of Dr. Matthew Carrano in shorts and t-shirt in the field touching a gray Crestacious boundary rock surface.
Matthew Carrano
Paleobiologist and Curator of Dinosauria
Paleobiologist Dr. Kay Behrensmeyer in jeans, shirt, and hat, standing at a field slope with rocks and  writing in a notebook
Anna K. Behrensmeyer
Paleobiologist and Curator of Fossil Vertebrates
Dr. Hans Sues in a dark suit holding a bone with a skeletal diagram of a dinosaur behind. Smithsonian photo by James Diloreto.
Hans-Dieter Sues
Paleobiologist and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology
Paleobiologist Dr. Scott Wing holding a plant fossil with other large fossils behind him. Pictures on the wall behind.
Scott Wing
Paleobiologist and Curator of Fossil Plants

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