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Teaching Resources

Bones and Forensic Anthropology

STEM Discipline

Forensic Anthropology 

National Middle School Standards

Life SciencePhysical 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:

Associated Experts

The skeletal remains of "Jane" surfaced sobering revelations about the harsh winter suffered by Jamestown settlers in 1609. Smithsonian photo.The skeletal remains of "Jane" surfaced sobering revelations about the harsh winter suffered by Jamestown settlers in 1609. Smithsonian photo.


Resource is aligned with the Forensic Mysteries- A Grizzly Discovery and Forensic Mysteries - Mystery at Yorktown Creek School Field Trip Programs. Learn more about all of our School Field Trip Programs here.

Webcast about forensic anthropology with Smithsonian anthropologist Kari Bruwelheide on Smithsonian Science How 

The Secret in the Cellar National Museum of Natural History

Forensic Anthropology National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)

Reading the Remains National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)



The Forensic Anthropology teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

Life Science


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


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.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards


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
Dr. David Hunt about to put a mummified child in a CT machine to do a scan. Dr. Bruno Frolich is standing behind him.
David Hunt
Physical Anthropology Museum Specialist

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