Quinnipiac University College of Arts and Sciences

Anthropology Outreach

In Faculty, Students on December 4, 2012 at 3:58 am


by Jaime Ullinger, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

This semester, 100 students from Karen Shilling’s 7th-grade Social Studies classes at Hamden Middle School visited the Center for Anthropological Research (CAR). In CAR, which acts as both teaching and laboratory space, the students were asked to “think like anthropologists.” They started off “in the field,” where they encountered a mock archaeological excavation unit. They then moved “into the lab” where hands-on activities illustrated the ways in which anthropologists interpret the past. They were encouraged to assemble a human skeleton, organize artifacts, and examine casts of human ancestors.

This truly was a collaborative project. People involved included anthropology faculty, undergraduates in anthropology courses, members of the Society for Anthropological Research, undergraduate members of the QU Future Teachers Organization, and the Bristol Myers Squibb Center for Science Teaching and Learning (BMSC).

The overall theme of the experience was created by Julia Giblin, our new assistant professor of Anthropology. But, she also had a lot of creative help. One of the most rewarding aspects of this event was that Julia experienced the excitement and engagement of QU undergraduates in her first semester!  Heather Madore, a sophomore Communications major/Anthropology minor and our CAR lab assistant, contributed in many creative ways.  She helped to design the mock archaeological unit, and also designed the logo that graced the cover of the students’ “field manual,” a book of worksheets that the middle schoolers used to “collect data.” Several undergraduates from Julia’s AN 103 (Introduction to Archaeology) course, Justine Tynan and Francesca Torelli, as well as our Vice-President for the Society of Anthropological Research, Lucy Freeman, helped with painting and setting up the excavation unit.

blog_anthro2Julia Giblin (L) and Justine Tynan (R) illustrating archaeology to 7th graders

The QU FTO group, led by Victoria Formica, who had assistance from Alex Burgos (a member of QU FTO and an anthropology minor) was a wonderfully organized and energetic student group. They were there to greet the students at the bus with Lucie Howell, the director of BMSC, and then helped with teaching at lab stations.

One of the lab stations – learning about the skeleton – was completely run by QU undergraduates, including Lauren Tosti, Lucy Freeman, and Kelly Beaulieu.  Knowing that they felt comfortable enough to teach human osteology (and skeletal pathology) to 7th-graders, and that they were excited to do so, was one of the best parts of this project. All three were students in my AN 102 (Introduction to Biological Anthropology) class, and Lauren currently serves as a Peer Fellow for this class, as well.

Kelly Beaulieu, a Freshman English major and a current student in AN 102 (Introduction to Biological Anthropology), said about her experience:

“It helped me to learn that I really enjoy teaching and watching students learn things. The kids were so into it.  I feel so good that I taught someone something that day. It was cool to not only get the opportunity to see how to teach someone, but to see how fun it was. When I had to take the second exam in AN 102, I knew what all of the bones were because I had taught them to 7th-graders. I also saw more connections and learned more about the field of anthropology by going through the experience.”

blog_anthro3Lauren Tosti (L), Kelly Beaulieu (middle), Lucy Freeman (R) teaching about bones

We had a great visit with Mrs. Shilling’s class from Hamden Middle School. The 7th grade students had a good time, and I am thrilled with the level of excitement and engagement in our own QU undergraduates. This was truly a group effort, and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!


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