First Steps in Learning and Teaching: Virtual Conference
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First Steps in Learning and Teaching: Virtual ConferenceInterpreting Primate Skeletons
Kathleen D. ReinhardtMPhil/PhD CandidateAnthropology and GeographyOxford Brookes University
Module: Humans and Other Primates
Preliminary requirements for enrollment
(which provide them with a base knowledge in primate societies and social systems before the start of the module
are predominantly undergraduates in their second and third
Lesson aims and objectives:Lab Practical Exercises
tudents to comprehend the
key features which distinguish primates from other animals
the features which distinguish the main groups of primates, specifically by region
To be able to identify the
based solely on skull anatomy
To be able to categorize and explain the functional morphology from a full primate
Learning various data collection methods which can be applied in lab/specimen research
2-hour lecture preceding lectureAll exercise questions in regard to prior PowerPoint lectures, to enhance impact and comprehension of the material.Students were divided into groups of 6 between different time slots
Phylogeny ReviewStrepsirrhineHaplorrhinePlatyrrhines (New World Monkeys)Catarrhines (Old World Monkeys)Prosimians (Strepsirrhines + Tarsiers)Locomotion ReviewVertical clingers and leapersSuspensor Arboreal quadrupeds Terrestrial quadrupeds Knuckle walking Bipedal
Continuing in review, I will give a brief overview of the locomotion categories we will be discussing in this lesson. Each locomotion type will be accompanied by a short video to aid in visual learning
Exercise example 1:First, interpret the primary form of locomotion used by primates A and B, looking at the size and shape of the thorax. Then, draw the scapula in the appropriate position below.
Students were instructed to draw skeleton as well, as an additional form of learning (Bohmbach, 2014).
Exercise example 2:Calculate the Intermembral Index (IMI) of primate skeletons A and B. Using the IMI, identify the form of locomotion each skeleton uses.
Vertical Clingers and Leapers
Length of humerus: 2
Length of radius: 3
Length of femur: 3Length of tibia: 3IMI= 83.3
Length of humerus: 19Length of radius: 17Length of femur: 18Length of tibia: 17IMI = 102.9
I used illustrations to aid in the lab practical (Carney & Levin, 2002)
Exercise example 3:Distinguish which skull belongs to a strepsirrhine Primate. Explain to the class how you came to your conclusion.
Using physical skulls and skeletons, students interpret various primate skeleton features. This practical class is accompanied by a lab workbook which is handed out in the beginning of class (Griffin, 2007).
This style incorporates visual and interactive learning, to be used following a lecture
It enhances comprehension by covering various types of learning throughout the entire lesson
Working in groups encourages participation as well as communicating with fellow students of diverse backgrounds and different learning levels
These exercises can be facilitated through hand-outs, PowerPoint slides or a practical lab with specimens, skulls and/or castes
Lab Practical AssignmentGroup participationAttendance sheets stating:Something new they learned Requested clarificationsAny questions about the days lecture Anything they specifically interesting or helpful during classAt the start of each class, the top 5 most frequent questions will be answeredIndividual questions are answered on attendance papers themselves, which students may collect at the beginning of each lecture
Student Feedback overall stated that:
exercises and found them helpful
Exercises were a nice break-up during a 3-hour lecture
of the exercises, to use as aid in studying
Weekly meetings to reflect last weeks exercises, where improvements were needed and what to do for the following week
ttendance sheets requires students to reflect on their understanding of the material as well as their own learning preferences
Skeletal interpretation is useful in all the subfields of Anthropology and can be applied throughout their academic and fieldwork careers
Hands-on experience using anatomical specimens for research
Bohmbach KG. (2014) Learning through drawing. Teaching Theology & Religion, 17(4): 350—351.
Boud, D. (2013) Enhancing learning through self-assessment. Routledge. Chicago, Illinois.
, R.N. & Levin, JR. (2002) Pictorial illustrations still improve students’ learning from text. Educational psychology
review, 14(1): 5—26.
Griffin, J. (2007) Learning science through practical experiences in museums, International Journal of Science Education, 20:6. DOI: 10.1080/0950069980200604