BMS Center, anthropology program host Hamden students

BMS Center, anthropology department host middle school students.
Senior Alex Burgos shows a group of Hamden Middle School seventh-graders a fossil cast of a skull as part of science and anthropology activities at the University on Oct. 29.

Oct. 29, 2013 - Senior Lauren Kaufman is a history major in the five-year education program with an anthropology minor. She got to experience the best of both worlds Oct. 29 as a group of 32 seventh-graders from Hamden Middle School visited the University to learn about science and anthropology.

"I'm getting to combine my two favorite things, which are education and anthropology," said Kaufman, who manned a human osteology station. "It's nice to be able to teach anthropological theories to younger kids so they can grow up thinking that way. It's also exposing them to things that they've never seen in their middle school before. It's exciting to watch them discover something new."

For the second straight year, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science, Teaching and Learning and the anthropology program teamed up to host the middle-schoolers. The students were divided into two groups and rotated between a pair of classrooms to take part in hand-on activities about archaeological digs, human evolution and technology.

Linda Salters, a seventh-grade teacher at Hamden Middle School, said the science stations certainly held the children's interested.

"They're really enjoying this," Salters said. "They get to be scientists for the day. They ask a lot of questions and the staff at Quinnipiac is very nice. The kids always walk away with something, whether it's a little gift or information they didn't come here with. It's a very nice activity."

The event was organized by Julia Giblin, assistant professor of anthropology, Lucy Howell, director of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science, Teaching and Learning, and Jaime Ullinger, assistant professor of anthropology and co-director of the Bioanthropology Research Institute

Ullinger said the interactive activities grabbed the children's attention and made learning fun.

"It's super hands on and they're really engaged," she said, adding that the Quinnipiac students get as much out of the day of learning as the middle school students do. "Our students have to use the material they've learned in the classroom and teach it to others. For them, it's a real sense of ownership over the material."

While the Hamden students sifted through sand and examined bones in an anthropology classroom, another group worked with Howell in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Center. She explained technology and had the children build towers out of marshmallows, string, tape and uncooked spaghetti.

"What will future anthropologists and archaeologists think of our culture when they dig up artifacts about our time?" she asked the students to ponder at the end of the activity.