Teaching Resources- Triassic Life, Extinction, and Recovery

Triangular skull fossil, brownish-red

Skull of a phytosaur (large reptile) that lived in Arizona during the late Triassic. National Park Service photo from Petrified Forest National Park.

STEM Subject: Triassic Life, Extinction, and Recovery 

National Middle School Science Standards Earth Science, Life Science 

Key Terms: paleontology, fossil record, mass extinction, volcanism, dinosaur evolution, Triassic period 

Key Concepts:

  • Life during the Triassic
  • Extinction at the end of the Triassic
  • Rise of the dinosaurs
  • Interpreting ecosystem changes through fossils
  • Technology used by paleontologists 

Resource Types:


Webcast (video) and Podcast (audio) Shows 

Printable Lessons 

Online Activities

Science Literacy Resources 

Middle School Level

High School Level

Gifted Readers

Posters and Worksheets 




The Triassic Life, Extinction, and Recovery teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

MS-ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe

  • MS-ESS1-4 Construct 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

MS-ESS2 Earth's Systems

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

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1 Analyze 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-LS4-2 Apply 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

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