Smithsonian Science How? Webcasts
Teachers are encouraged to use our science education resources to maximize the learning potential of the Smithsonian Science How? webcasts! This is a new and unique resource that taps the learning power of our curriculum while aligning with standards.
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MORE INFO Rusty Russell is the Botany Collections Manager at the National Museum of Natural History. Rusty manages collections activities in the U.S. National Herbarium, a research collection that contains more than 5 million pressed, dried plant specimens. What is the point of keeping so many plant specimens? Take a journey with Rusty to see how plant collections can be used to map ecosystem changes over time. Visit a part of Southern California that experienced a dramatic shift in plant species composition during the 20th century. See how students and other volunteers can be instrumental in collecting data to tell the story of ecosystem change.
Photo from Smithsonian Institution Archives, SIA-2002-24193.
MORE INFO Dr. Helen James is an ornithologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Have you ever considered how a species as abundant as the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) could have gone extinct? Analyze their disappearance and consider what factors make birds vulnerable to extinction. Follow Helen into Hawaiian lava tubes to look for fossil evidence of bird life on the islands. See which bird species survived and which did not after humans arrived on the scene. Use modern tools and technologies to interpret bird extinctions.
Image courtesy of Carla H. Kishinami, The Bishop Museum.
MORE INFO Meet Dr. Kirk Johnson, a paleobotanist and Director of the National Museum of Natural History. See how he and other experts joined forces to figure out what happened at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago. While you may be familiar with the extinction of large dinosaurs, you might not realize that much of the other life on Earth went extinct as well. Join Kirk as he explores the extinction and recovery stories told by fossils found at the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota. Examine evidence for the causes, the consequences, and the aftermath of the mass extinction for life on Earth.
View the 2013-2014 Smithsonian Science How resources here