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Learning Goals and Standards

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Working through the "Bighorn Sheep" unit, students will develop a deeper understanding of the following big ideas:

1. Ecological and Biological Concepts in the Context of Human Impact
  • Habitat
    • Habitat is the full area and physical environment where an organism lives.
    • Habitat fragmentation, when an ecosystem is broken into pieces, can threaten the survival of some species.
  • Populations
    • A population is a group of individuals of one species living in the same area that interbreed.
    • Small populations may result in inbreeding, which can often cause health problems.
  • Inbreeding:
    • Inbreeding is when close relatives mate and reproduce.
    • Inbreeding can cause health problems or death in individuals by making it more likely for defective traits to occur.
  • DNA is a tool scientists use to understand genetic exchange amongst interbreeding populations:
    • Populations that interbreed (exchange genes) will be more genetically similar to one another than populations that do not breed.
    • Scientists can study the similarities/differences in DNA to measure how frequently interbreeding/gene exchange occurs and whether populations are isolated from one another.
2. Human Impact in the Context of Daily Life
  • The daily lives of people impact the ecology of their surroundings.
  • Highways and other human activities can cause habitat fragmentation and threaten species survival.
  • Highways, built to help people move around, can isolate populations from one another leading to inbred populations that are less able to survive.
3. Nature of Science
  • Science is based on evidence, which take many forms and is referred to as data. Inference and conclusions are based upon data.
  • Scientists are people who ask questions about the natural world and gather and interpret data to address those questions.
  • Communication is central to science so that others can verify data and build upon research.
  • Scientific research can help people learn about how daily life interacts with the natural world.
  • Science is a human endeavor.
4. Data Representation
  • Scientists use different tools to represent data.
  • These tools help scientists compare and interpret data.
  • Measuring distance on a map can help interpret meaning from data.
  • Some representations are better than others based upon the type of data collected and the needs of analysis.
Next Generation Science Standards
Common Core Standards

National Standards

Science as Inquiry, Content Standard A
  1. Abilities necessary to do inquiry
  2. Understandings about scientific inquiry.
Life Science, Content Standard C
  1. Populations and Ecosystems
  2. The Interdependence of Organisms
  3. Reproduction and Heredity
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives, Content Standard F
  1. Populations, Resources and Environments
  2. Environmental Quality
  3. Natural Hazards and Human Induced Hazards

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