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The Kid Should See This, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology

Resource Types

  • Video, 12 minutes, 29 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Article

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West

The Climate Clues Found in LA's Natural History Museum Specimens

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  • This video features scientists at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County discussing how fossils, specimens, and artifacts at the museum show climate history. The museum uses this information to answer questions about climate change today. 
  • Students will learn about scientists who specialize in plants, marine life, birds, and humans. 
Teaching Tips


  • A short article links to several interesting sources. 
  • Students will enjoy seeing the museum's fossils and specimens as the scientists discuss them.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with concepts such as endangered species, habitat loss, sea level rise, and ocean acidification.


  • Biology classes could use this video to show the effects of climate change on ecosystems and species.
  • Psychology, sociology, anthropology, or history classes could discuss why humans from the past behaved differently, and sometimes more violently, in reaction to changes in the climate. Students could debate whether or not the phenomenon persists in today's world.
  • Other resources on this topic include this Khan Academy video on extinction, this interactive map on the habitats of endangered species, and this video on saving the world's coral reefs.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 12-minute video produced by the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. It is an excellent example of how current scientists are using information from fossils and tar pits to piece together the climates of the past. The science in the video is explained articulately and tangibly. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
    • 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.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.9.6-8 Evaluate the influences of long-term human-induced environmental change on spatial patterns of conflict and cooperation.
      • D2.Geo.10.9-12 Evaluate how changes in the environmental and cultural characteristics of a place or region influence spatial patterns of trade and land use.
      • D2.Geo.9.9-12 Evaluate the influence of long-term climate variability on human migration and settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales.
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.16.9-12 Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.
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