Spitzer Hall of Human Origins Online Resources
From the American Museum of Natural History:
Explore the Museum's website for kids for information and activities on genetics, paleontology, biodiversity, and more. Look for these features: the Gene Scene, Archaeology: Clues from the Past, What’s This?, and Tree of Life.
Science Bulletins’ documentary features, biweekly news stories, and data visualizations report on current paleontological finds, discoveries about human genetics and the brain, and human health issues in the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. The website presents additional stories on astrophysics, Earth Science, and biodiversity research, all with supporting educator resources. Science Bulletins can help foster understanding that science research is an ongoing process and build an appreciation for the tools of science.
Science Explorations Web Quests
With the Hall of Human Origins Web Quest, students can go on a virtual field trip to the Museum to explore further the diorama scenes in the Hall, then go behind the scenes to learn how these “windows on nature” are created.
American Association for the Advancement of Science: Evolution on the Front Line
The AAAS has played a prominent role in supporting the teaching of evolution in public school science classrooms. This page lists background materials on the issues and links to AAAS resources on evolution.
Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes
A collection of lessons and teaching units on evolution, the origin of life, genetics, and the nature of science for high school level biology classes, authored by a team of university professors. The lessons offer tips and techniques to address student misconceptions in the classroom.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Biointeractive on Evolution
Video and slides of a popular lecture series by HHMI investigators on Darwin’s impact are accessible here, as well as related articles and in-depth animations on evolution.
National Center for Science Education
The National Center for Science Education defends the teaching of evolution in public schools. The site includes resources for parents, teachers, school boards, and the general public.
National Science Teachers Association
Resources on this site include an Evolution Q&A, the NSTA Position Statement on teaching evolution, evolution headlines, an evolution archive, book reviews, and weblinks.
PBS Evolution Series Website - Teachers and Students
Resources include a teacher's guide to the series Evolution, which contains curriculum-based activities and multimedia investigations. Online lessons provide multimedia pathways to help students understand evolution and the nature of science. Short videos address topics such as the nature of science, the nature of the evolution controversy, and why evolution matters today. An evolution library offers a way to browse the collection by topic, as well as frequently asked questions and a glossary.
Sigma Xi: Evolution Resources
This site lists writings on evolution from American Scientist and other Sigma Xi publications, as well as updates on how the research society weighs in on the public and legal dialogue about evolution.
University of California Museum of Paleontology: Understanding Evolution
This site presents a comprehensive overview for teachers on both learning about and teaching evolution. It covers the nature of science, evidence for evolution, the history of evolutionary thought, ways to address misconceptions, and other topics.
Human Origins and Genetics:
Becoming Human: Learning Center
Explore the classroom activities developed in conjunction with this Institute of Human Origins documentary. Check out “Building Bodies”: students can compare human and primate skeletons.
Students can watch real cells grow with “Cell Cams” and explore interactive diagrams and models of cell processes on this website.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Gene Almanac
The website of the Dolan DNA Learning Center from this research and educational institution includes multimedia activities on both genetics and human evolution.
To commemorate Lucy's visit to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the anthropology department of the University of Texas at Austin has created a suite of lessons and activities to educate students about Lucy's place in the history of human evolution.
Human Genome Project: Education Resources
A plethora of online and downloadable resources to support genetics instruction.
National Geographic’s Genographic Project
This website for a scientific effort to map human migration through genetic analysis includes a comprehensive interactive map, links to recent news on human evolution, and educator resources.
National Geographic Xpeditions: The Dig
Students can unearth and explore Turkana Boy’s fossil skeleton with this interactive. A variety of additional related activities and classroom lesson plans for all grade levels cover paleontology, archaeology, and geography concepts.
PBS’s A Science Odyssey: Human Evolution
Elementary school students can explore web activities and read information on the origins of our species as part of the educator resources for the PBS program A Science Odyssey: Origins.
Science Magazine: The Tree-Thinking Challenge
An essay on common misconceptions that arise when reading and interpreting phylogenetic trees.
Texas A&M University: Anthropology in the News
A regularly updated list of links to the latest discoveries in paleoanthropology and archaeology.
Tree of Life Web Project
A collaboration of hundreds of biologists, this online database compiles a vast amount of information on the evolutionary relationships among the diverse species of the world and presents it in an easily browsable format. Activities on the learning center explain how to read the tree of life, classify organisms, and construct evolutionary trees.
Yale Peabody Museum: Timeline of Evolution
An easy-to-navigate chronology of hominids.
More About This Resource...
This reference list contains brief descriptions of and links to 22 Websites that provide a broad range of human origins resources. The sites include:
- a collection of sites with lesson plans, videos, and other resources for teaching evolution,
- "cell cams" that let students watch real cells grow,
- an interactive map that shows how genetic analysis is helping scientists map human migration, and
- a library of links to news about discoveries in paleoanthropology and archaeology.
Supplement a study of archaeology with an activity drawn from this list of Web links.
- Divide the class into small groups and assign each a Web site from the list.
- Have each group explore its Web site, taking notes about the information it covers and the resources it includes.
- In a brief presentation, have the groups share their findings with the class. Ask them to point out which resources they found most helpful and what details or facts they learned from the site.