First Steps in Learning and Teaching: Virtual Conference
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First Steps in Learning and Teaching: Virtual Conference

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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



minute weekly

interactive exercises


aid in

3-hour lecture

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

For s

tudents to comprehend the

key features which distinguish primates from other animals

Students understand

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


Lab Practical

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


Pre-Lab Review

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).


Exercise Attributes

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


Exercise Assessment

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


Evaluation Feedback

Student Feedback overall stated that:

They enjoyed


exercises and found them helpful

Exercises were a nice break-up during a 3-hour lecture

Requested copies

of the exercises, to use as aid in studying

Professor Feedback

Weekly meetings to reflect last weeks exercises, where improvements were needed and what to do for the following week


Transferable Skills


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