K-12 Resources

Online Resources for K-12 Students and Educators

Lesson Plans

Project Grade Level Topic
----------------------------------Middle School
iDigPaleo Portal 7

Constructing a Carboniferous dragonfly model (draft)

iDigPaleo Portal 6-8

Compare ancient and modern insect ecosystems (draft)

iDigBio 6-8

How Scientists Use Natural History Collections Data to Answer Questions About Plants and Animals (as part of the March 2016 Biodiversity Spotlight)

Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections and Students Discover 6-8 Notes from Nature: Interpreting Nature's Biodiversity
----------------------------------High School
iDigPaleo Portal 9-12

Climate Creations using Dragonflies (draft)

Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections 9-12

Using Notes from Nature (developed by Kari Harris and Travis Marsico)


More Biodiversity Resources for the Classroom

More Educational Resources:



PlantingScience is a learning community where scientists provide online mentorship to student teams as they design and think through their own inquiry projects. Engaging in the science process and becoming familiar with science practices enhances science learning. The ability to collaborate, discuss, and reflect with scientists and peers opens new doors to motivate students, and builds necessary pathways for 21st century skills.


BirdSleuth K-12

BirdSleuth K-12 creates innovative resources that build science skills while inspiring young people to connect to local habitats, explore biodiversity, and engage in citizen-science projects. The website divides its resources by audience - teachers, homeschoolers, informal educators, afterschool programs, and 4-H youth development.

Shape of Life

Shape of Life is a series of FREE short classroom videos that beautifully illustrate the evolution of the animal kingdom on planet earth. Based upon an original PBS Series, Shape of Life is especially designed for students and teachers who want a first-hand account of how animals adapt and thrive. The series is NGSS aligned with exquisite focus on diversity, biodiversity, adaptability, body structure, design, behaviors, and the innovative scientists who explore these creatures.

ROCKS Videos

ROCKS or Real Opportunities to Connect Kids with Scientists has created a series of videos using paleontology to introduce students to the scientific process. The videos were aligned with Learning Outcomes found within the fourth Grade Utah State Core Curriculum.

Part 1 - Introduction/Fieldwork
Part 2 - Fossil Prep Lab
Part 3 - Collections and Research


Students Discover

“Students Discover offers free, high-quality curriculum to middle school science teachers around the world. These curriculum modules were created in partnership between scientists and educators to support student participation in a broad range of citizen science projects, ranging from measuring fossilized shark teeth to observing bird nests on school grounds.”

Center for Essential Science

The Center for Essential Science (CES) is a research center committed to developing and evaluating educational materials for k-12 students.

CES has example lessons for middle school and high school students on climate change: http://essentialscience.umich.edu/essentialscience/example_lessons

BioKids: Has resources taken from the Animal Diversity Web that have been adapted for younger audiences http://www.biokids.umich.edu/

Animal Diversity Web: PDF of animal diversity web quest appropriate for younger audiences http://scienceguy11.wikispaces.com/file/view/Animal_Diversity.pdf



Crossing Boundaries

Exploring Biodiversity Using Information Technologies

The series consists of four books that collectively engage middle and high school students in using information technologies to investigate real-world scientific and environmental questions in national and international contexts. Geospatial technologies (Google Earth, GIS, and web-based maps) and other information and communication technologies (wikis, blogs, podcasts, databases, etc.) provide students with opportunities to analyze spatial data relationships, formulate scientific explanations, and develop communication skills.

Birds without Borders is now available online: http://www.crossingboundaries.org/bwb.php


Understanding Science

“The mission of Understanding Science is to provide a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works. This project has at its heart a re-engagement with science that begins with teacher preparation and ends with broader public understanding. Its immediate goals are to (1) improve teacher understanding of the nature of the scientific enterprise, (2) provide resources and strategies that encourage and enable K-16 teachers to reinforce the nature of science throughout their science teaching, and (3) provide a clear and informative reference for students and the general public that accurately portrays the scientific endeavor.”

Teaching resources are divided by subject and grade level and can be found here: http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/index.php

Understanding Evolution

“Understanding Evolution is a non-commercial, education website, teaching the science and history of evolutionary biology. This site is here to help you understand what evolution is, how it works, how it factors into your life, how research in evolutionary biology is performed, and how ideas in this area have changed over time.”

Teaching resources are divided by subject and grade level and can be found here: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/teach/index.php

Virtual Fieldwork

“Real Earth System Science is a project of the Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth that helps teachers teach Regional and Local Earth system science using an inquiry approach.  The project is grounded in the idea of using the local environment to understand the global environment.”

Find their teacher friendly guides here: http://www.priweb.org/outreach.php?page=teacherprofdev/Teach_Guides

Frontiers for Young Minds

Frontiers for Young Minds is a collection of free scientific articles written to be accessible for young readers (ages 8-15). The site also allows the young readers to provide feedback to the authors.

The website has a section about navigating through the articles for teachers: http://www.kids.frontiersin.org/about/teachersandparents