Could you tell the difference between a neanderthal and an australopithecus? Maybe not. For high school students studying anthropology and paleontology, though, a grant from the Foundation that funded the purchase of hominid skull replicas is making it easier.
“The Hominid Skull Replicas grant has allowed students to experience sensorial learning,” says Pierre Sirois, the teacher who applied for the grant. “For example, the driving question for the unit on collective learning asks students to answer the question where do humans come from, and what makes us unique? By touching and manipulating six different life-size hominid skulls, the students can feel the differences between each hominid; they can see how skulls have changed.”
Being able to see and feel the replicas, which were purchased from a company called Bone Clones, has caused students to delve deeper into some fundamental issues. “These objects in the class have dramatically increased our students' engagement,” Sirois says. “Our students are now more curious about the past, driving them to want to learn more about this chapter of world history.”