Over the course of the last year, many major scientific publications—including Scientific American, Science, and Nature—underscored the importance of a recent fossil finding by featuring Australopithecus sediba—the new species of hominin that Professor Lee Berger and his son discovered in South Africa. The fossils of an eleven-year-old boy and adult female are the two most complete hominins ever unearthed, and there are fragments of at least four more individuals at the site.

The Skull in the Rock, by Lee Berger and Marc Aronson, not only reports on that finding for middle school-aged kids, but also explores its importance to scientists and to the "rest of us," and sheds light on what it means to be a paleo-anthropologist, and, more generally, a scientist. In a book that answers questions and at the same time piques curiosity—the beginning of all inquiry—Marc Aronson takes us behind the scenes, into the field, and beyond.

This educator guide provides discussion questions and activities for use with middle school English language arts classes. The discussion questions and activities connect to several areas in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening. You can find a list of the anchor standards and corresponding activities at the end of the guide.

Visit the National Geographic store to purchase The Skull in the Rock, for ages 10 and up. To extend the learning, your students can continue to follow the discoveries of Lee Berger and his team by visiting the companion website to The Skull in the Rock. This site encourages young explorers to reach their full potential, explore new horizons, and take part in the exciting world of discovery and exploration.